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Three Quick Ways Owners and Operators Could Work Together to Achieve Better Margins

Construction companies of all sizes face many challenges when it comes to battling the cyclical nature of the business—weather, equipment maintenance, technology and the economy can produce some real headaches. As the economy shows signs of life, figuring out better ways to manage cash flow and margins has to become a priority. One sometimes overlooked advantage is how collaboration between owners and equipment operators can add to the bottom line.

Here are some easy, quick actions to think about:

Can senior operators take the lead on some tasks?
There are many tasks that have to be managed, documented and coordinated on any jobsite. Are you assigning all those tasks strictly by job title or by skill set? Perhaps there are tasks that senior operators could take on in terms of reporting progress, handling daily meetings with the entire crew, or other tasks where they can bring specific insights to the team. It’s possible that looking at task delegation in a new way can free up more time for managers to plan for new work, more accurate estimates and bigger margins.

Are you engaging your operators in financial performance?
Operators can have a dramatic impact on project costs—operating skills, fuel consumption behaviors, knowledge of the equipment, and diligence in taking good care of the equipment, just to name a few. Many studies have documented that when workers understand how their behaviors impact the financial performance of the company, they are more likely to change behaviors or embrace new ones. Many contractors report that sharing or posting fuel consumption and/or idle time data has made significant differences in how operators run machines.

Does your company review the results of projects with managers and operators as a team?
Could there be added benefits in working together on action plans for reducing costs or increasing efficiency? Would owners consider creating bonus opportunities based on how well improvement plans get results?

Is your entire company a part of the marketing plan?
As much as the people with the name on the door, operators take a great deal of pride in their work. When operators understand the types of work your company is looking to get more of, or the kinds of projects the company wants to grow into, they can be well-informed network advocates for your company. Every person in the company has the ability to reach potential customers through others they know. And, with the proliferation of social and professional networks, it only makes sense for business owners to make sure that employees are all “on the bus” when it comes to understanding where new business can be found.