Better track your employees to better manage them
Reduce the possibility of theft or other potential issues
Help them with time management skills
Know exactly what is going on in the field at every moment
The world is changing, and quickly. Everything that we do is tracked, analysed, and used for or against us. As a business, you are left with the opportunity to embrace the change and utilize it to the best of your ability, or to resist it for any number of moral or personal reasons.
GPS tracking is a touchy subject, people appreciate their privacy and do not like to feel like they are being treated like animals. However, we are talking about personal employees here and although we are strong defenders of their personal rights, they are basically tracked each and every day anyhow. To properly manage your employees you need to know exactly where they are, what they are doing, and how you can help them to improve at their jobs each and every day.
Putting the ethical argument out of the way for the sake of this article, lets take a look at how GPS tracking is being utilized in the roofing industry. There is nothing worse then wondering where your crew is at, if they have actually arrived at the job yet or are just telling you they are there, and worrying that they are actually staying there all day working on the project. Yes, ideally everyone should have the best crews out there that are loyal, hard working, and trustworthy. But, lets all agree that we do not live in a perfect world and that it is better to plan for the worse and enjoy the best. A supervisor is only able to stay on the job for so long, hopefully he gets there at the right time to check out all the work before it has proceeded to far. That company role is crucial, and you typically want an individual that you can trust 100% to perform the tasks he has been assigned. That may not always be the case with the roofing crews, as a hard working laborer is not necessarily the best at time management or any of the other skills required to be a good manager.
That being said, utilizing a time tracking software can have huge advantages for the roofers and the company that they work for. In my experience, people tend to perform better when they know they are being watched. There is a thin line between closely watching your people and micro managing them, but just tracking where they are at and at what times is not really all that invasive as long as you do not call them constantly about it. Our golden rule is we demand honesty, we are not going to be upset if we see that little red dot stop moving for 30 minutes, but if we notice that half of the crew is not even on site when they say they will finish the job by the end of the day, we know we have a problem.
As a bigger business, we have the luxury of employing long time employees and fortunately do not run into such instances very often. But, it is one of the biggest complaints that we here from other people in the industry. That, and like it or not, we always have to deal with the potential for theft. It is human nature to want more out of life, and if certain individuals are not satisfied with their current pay or circumstances they will sometimes resort to theft to compensate themselves. It is always best practice to have the supervisor check to make sure that the material ordered got delivered correctly, to compete a roof report before ordering, and to periodically check in on the job in order to see how everything is proceeding or if there is an excess of material left over. No, GPS tracking is not an end all be all solution here as anyone motivated enough will find a way around it, and in all honesty you don’t want people like that working for you anyways. But again, just knowing that they are being watched helps to deter such behavior to a huge extent.
Whether or not it is something you will implement at your company is a decision that should not be taken lightly. The cost is nearly negligible in comparison to some of the other software solutions required to run day to day operations. But, it is definitely a change in culture for most people as you have officially turned into their “boss” and lots of these owners want to continue playing the best friend card. Taking opinion and emotional bias out of the equation, the benefits are clear here and it is something that all the big national companies are already using. Like it or not, the last thing you want to do is fall behind the times because you are paranoid or scared to adopt new technologies.