#SMETowkay: Forging Ahead with Technology
When Koh Zhi Li joined his family’s earthworks business, Koh Kock Leong Enterprise, two years ago as a project manager, he was surprised at the high overhead expenses that the company incurred daily. He knew that in the earth excavation business, efficient resource allocation — from manpower to the specific deployment of excavators and trucks — is key to being able to deliver projects on time. Earth excavation usually happens before other engineering projects, such as the construction of a MRT station. “The longer we take to complete a job, the more it costs us,” explains Koh.
Labour costs was also especially challenging when managing over 300 workmen spread across various projects. “There are more than 50 work sites at a time; I can’t go down to every work site to check on their progress,” he says. “Everything was hindsight tracking in the past, but it is now important to be able to track (their progress) live.”
To better manage overheads, Koh suggested the company leverage on technology that kept a close eye on critical financial numbers such as labour costs and inventory. This came in the form of a workforce tracking system from digital solutions provider, Hubble. With Hubble’s solution, the company can instantly get an overview of projects’ accumulated labour hours and costs. The software also alerts supervisors if an ongoing project was close to exceeding its budget so that supervisors can then take the necessary steps to speed up the progress at the worksite.
“We needed to know how much we are spending to know whether we can afford to mobilise more manpower, excavators and trucks to expedite the process,” he explains. “But how would we be able to make that instant decision if we don’t have instant tracking?”
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Text by In Plain Words.