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"Eight ways to save time on site"

News Item

Ben Murphy

Getting things done quickly in the building and construction industry means a job runs on time and on budget. Here are some ways you may not have thought about that save time on site, without rushing.

1. Get one task done at a time

Some people struggle to finish one task in its entirety. This can be due to a few different factors. Boredom, lack of concentration, people asking you questions, hunger, thirst, all of the above. Switching from one task to the next or multitasking on site can be detrimental to the productivity to your job as a whole. Whether you’re the boss or an apprentice, getting things done in a timely manner is important because at the end of the day, you’re trading your time for money. The more effective you are with your time the more value you create, the more likely you are to be able to win more work or finish a task and be able to assist another project on site.

2. If it’s almost done, finish it

Tools down. The greatest two words on earth. Unfortunately, they may be detrimental to the task you’re trying to complete. You have to pack up everything then unpack it the next day to start working again which takes up valuable time. If you want to get a task done sooner, stay an extra half hour. Yes, at the end of the day it might be the last thing you feel like doing but you’ll gain respect from your co-workers and the extra time puts you an hour and a half ahead the next day. You should, however, set a leaving time so you’re not there all night.

3. Keep track of time

Spend a day keeping track of how much time you spend doing each task and how much time is wasted doing things that aren’t progressing the job forward. Once you get over the initial shock of how much time you’re wasting, you can take action to minimise pockets of time that steal your attention. This is also important for safety. Make sure you’re taking the necessary breaks to stay alert and on track.

4. Pack your lunch

Although a simple tip, it’ll save you a lot of time in the long run. The time it takes to get in your car, get to a shop near site, order, eat and get back to site barely gives you enough time to recuperate before getting back into it. If you’re reading this at a café on smoko - you know the feeling. This won’t just save you time on site but also money. You’ll have to be a little more organised ahead of time but if it means being more effective at work, you’re having a win.

5. Go digital

The increasingly fast pace of the building and construction industry requires more preparation than ever and using outdated practices will cost you time in the future. Forward thinking companies and people are using new technology to simplify their workload and integrate with other systems. When the opportunity arises to streamline systems within your workplace, in the office and on site, it’s important to explore the idea. A great example of this is digitalising data entry processes. Mistakes due to human error and long processing times are important factors in the cost of manual processes. Using tools such as Docketbook to eliminate paper and make your processes more efficient won't just save you money, it also provides a better experience for your customer.

6. Plan your day before you start

As the old saying goes, proper preparation prevents poor performance. If you jump straight into work as soon as you arrive, chances are you’ll be running around like a headless chook for most of the day. If you plan your day around what is essential throughout the day then adapt it when required, you’ll be saving yourself time because you know what’s coming next. One of the best ways to do this, is to write a list and start ticking it off early. Some people prefer biting off larger chunks of work at the start of the day and some prefer knocking over a few small tasks to get the day going.

7. Invest in good tools and machinery

If you buy good tools and machinery and look after it, you’ll have it forever. This not only saves you money in the long run but saves you time. Thinking about how much something is worth per use rather than how much it costs initially puts perspective on spending ‘more’ money. If you buy a hammer for $20 and it only lasts for 5 days, you’re spending more than buying a $100 hammer that lasts a year. Not to mention that the time spent travelling are non-billable hours. Good tools aren’t cheap and cheap tools aren’t good.

8. Keep it clean

This is a general rule of thumb when you’re on site - being clean and organised is the first step in being efficient. This rule also applies to your vehicle or site box. When your tools are organised, you know where everything is and can access them easily and quickly which means you’re saving time. We all know that one bloke who is forever searching through his toolbox. Getting organised and keeping your site clean may take up a small amount of time but for every minute spent you save ten.


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