ARTICLE

How to Improve Contractor Productivity Through People, Processes and Product Technology


With a decline in productivity since the 1960s, electrical contracting is experiencing unprecedented pressures — like the rest of the construction industry. A shortage of skilled labour is a persistent issue. Complicated projects, high labour costs, supply chain challenges, material inflation, transportation and logistics issues and compressed schedules affect electrical installation contractors.

Forty-one percent of our skilled tradespeople will retire in the next 10 years, accelerating an already severe shortage of skilled workers. That shortage makes it more challenging to have enough qualified supervision in the office, trailer and on-site. It takes four years or more to turn out skilled electricians, and then a high degree of up-training is required to create supervisors.

People, processes and product technology drive productivity. Labour-saving products alone do not necessarily improve jobsite productivity, reduce risk and cost, improve timeliness or increase profitability. The process requires having the right skills and using the right strategies as well as partnering and collaborating with suppliers who can integrate innovative products and newer best practices to impact projects' overall installed costs and timelines.

Contractors must engage manufacturers and supply chain partners early in the process and insist that they bring the right level of technology, precisely where and when it is needed and deliver to improve the on-site process. Manufacturers and channel partners are trying to find ways to take some of the cost, risk and timeline burdens off the shoulders of contractors. For example, while manufacturers might not build all the infrastructure components, they can help with pre-assembly, packaging and labelling in ways that improve the process by combining products or delivering in bulk to reduce packaging or palletizing to minimize the movement of materials and touches before installation.

How Can Electrical Infrastructure Products and Systems with Productivity “Designed In” Help Address Issues

  • Contractor Prefab – If you are not already prefabricating components, you may be missing out on getting more certainty out of your projects. Off-site prefabrication doesn't have to be complicated to yield results. You can start small but start.
  • Modular wiring systems – Plug-and-play wiring systems for branch circuits, lighting, lighting control, etc. Consult your supply chain partner early in your evaluation and estimation to look for solutions that can be put in place and connected quickly. Don't want to build it? Buy it! With the availability of prefabricated branch circuit systems suppliers, more time is available for skilled labour to focus on higher-value work.
  • Pre-wired raceways – Like prefabricated wiring systems, pre-wired raceways eliminate the need to "stick build" your pathways, enabling skilled labour to focus on higher-value work.
  • Plug-and-play wiring devices – Whether prefabricating or wiring on-site, plug-and-play wiring devices speed installation at rough-in and trim out and enable easy repairs and changes.
  • Wire mesh cable management systems – Can dramatically speed the installation of wire and cable pathways and data center cable management below and above the floor.
  • Contractor, manufacturer and supply partner collaboration – The sooner you engage key manufacturers and your trusted supply chain partners, the sooner you can spot opportunities to improve workflow and productivity.

Covering All the Bases Makes It All Work

Labour-saving products do not necessarily improve jobsite productivity, reduce risk and cost, improve timeliness or increase profitability. Instead, the process requires partnering and collaborating with suppliers who can integrate innovative products and newer best practices to effectively impact projects' overall installed costs and timelines.

Contractors can play a vital role in this transformation by providing feedback when given the opportunity; partner with those you trust to listen and report back with new solutions to problems. Supply chain partners who engage all contractor internal and external stakeholders, make the successful implementation of productivity solutions possible. The internal stakeholders at the electrical contractor include the owner or highest-engaged executive, project manager, estimator, engineer, buyer, foreman, etc. External stakeholders include the project owner, architect, engineer, general contractor/construction manager and the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).

Using all your resources in a collaborative effort to meet or exceed the needs and expectations of all stakeholders ensures objections are answered and opportunities are not overlooked.



Jared Meyer

BY LEGRAND NORTH AMERICA, ELECTRICAL WIRING SYSTEMS DIVISION

Legrand is a global specialist in electrical and network infrastructure solutions. Legrand transforms spaces where people live and work and delivers access to power, light and data to millions of spaces around the world.



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