Construction and rail companies are faced with a whirlwind of operational processes. Appropriate allocation of resources and manpower is essential to ensure on-site efficiency and productivity, but what is the difference between the two and how do you strike the right balance?
Productivity is the volume of production over a given period. Using site clearance as an example, we could measure site productivity as the number of square meters cleared in a work week.
Effectiveness refers to the quality of the result and how allocated resources are used to achieve it. Again, using site clearance as an example, effectiveness would be related to the standard to which those square meters were cleared and the efficiency with which resources were used.
Two crews – A and B – undertake the same site clearance work. They are given a goal and must follow all the proper procedures. In this example, Team A met their goal, while Team B exceeded it. Team B would therefore be the more productive of the two. If, upon inspection, however, that crew is found to have used incorrect procedures to perform said work, the affected parts would have to be redone. This involves allocating additional hours and resources. On the other hand, Team A has completed all of their work to standard, even if they have completed less. This makes them the more effective team of the two.
Productivity and efficiency solutions must be tailor-made
The right balance between productivity and efficiency must be determined on a case-by-case basis by each company. Each sector has its own processes and expectations, which means that a “one size fits all” approach is not possible. When balancing these two, it’s important not to think of it as sacrificing productivity for efficiency or vice versa.
Low efficiency does not necessarily mean high productivity, in fact quite the opposite. If teams spend a lot of time redoing rushed, shoddy work, resources are diverted from other projects and productivity suffers. In extreme cases, this can come at the expense of customers and contracts, which has a direct effect on staff morale and employee retention.
MWBenney saw a 90% increase in time saved with Re-flow’s field management software
That’s why optimizing your company’s operational processes to improve efficiency is crucial to achieving sustainable business growth. Many companies are now trading fragmented document management systems and spreadsheet software for more comprehensive digital field management solutions. With a more efficient foundation that streamlines many repetitive administrative processes, teams on all sides of the business can benefit from more time, where onsite productivity can also increase.
For example, MWBenney traded in its manual processes for Re-flow’s field management software for construction. This resulted in a 90% increase in time saved, a 50% increase in communication between teams and a 40% reduction in paper. These improvements meant that operators and office staff could get more done in the same amount of time, paving the way for increased productivity on site and across the business.
How does field management software increase on-site productivity?
Field management software primarily increases productivity by automating repetitive administrative tasks and streamlining workflows. Rather than physically transporting task packs, forms, and communications to remote locations, instant communication between the dashboard and system application components allows users to receive all necessary business information via their mobile device .
With the completion of the digital form through the said app, automated workflows can be triggered based on the submitted data. This means that actions such as recording vehicle faults or scheduling maintenance no longer need to be performed by a member of staff, allowing resources to be diverted elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the efficiency is also improved. Asset management ensures that equipment is usable, workers are properly qualified to perform the job, and materials are properly accounted for and stored as needed. Enabling compliance through forms helps reduce reporting errors. This, coupled with proof of work through capture, approval, and tracking, ensures work is completed to standard. All of this feeds into live data reports, facilitating predictive planning and data-driven decisions that help measure and improve efficiency across the business.
What are the benefits of improved productivity and efficiency?
The benefits of balancing productivity and efficiency are not just financial. Declining worker safety, as well as negative environmental impacts, are both consequences of neglecting efficiency in favor of raw productivity. It’s natural to take shortcuts when under pressure with tight deadlines and high productivity quotas.
Despite this, it is not a position in which a worker should feel obligated. For example, earlier this year a railway company was fined over half a million pounds for taking shortcuts in its HSE management, which would permanently prevent the operator concerned from working.
Ultimately, the responsibility to ensure that safety and efficiency are not compromised in favor of productivity rests with companies, not workers. Measures must be taken to ensure that HSE standards are maintained and that workers comply with good working practices.
To sum up, productivity is the measure of the amount of work done, while efficiency measures the quality of said work. Neglecting one in favor of the other can have serious consequences beyond missed deadlines and reduced profitability.
Human and environmental ramifications must be considered, and operators should never feel pressured into making tough decisions to meet unrealistic productivity or efficiency goals. Fortunately, the growing adoption of new technologies, such as field management software, offers businesses an accessible way to strike that healthy balance and grow sustainably.
Strike the right balance between on-site efficiency and productivity with field management software. Get a free demo of Re-flow and qualify for a free trial, or call 01392574002
*Please note this is a commercial profile.
Head of Sales and Marketing
Management of redistribution fields
Tel: +44 01392 547002