ADAPTING TO THE TRADE LABOR SHORTAGE
One of our earlier articles, Where are the Workers, outlined the reasons for the labor shortage amongst the trades. We know there’s a negative narrative in the workforce when it comes to trade work, many students are choosing a four-year degree over trade school, and there’s a perception that trade work isn’t conducive to spending time with family.
While we do what we can to reverse the narrative and showcase the benefits of working in the electrical field, there’s more we can do within our own organization to mitigate the labor shortage. We know the shortage isn’t going away anytime soon, so we are finding ways to do more with less labor on the job site.
Technology is the key to increasing efficiencies. Senior Project Manager James Montano says, “There are so many different tools coming out to make things easier. We’re staying on top of that: where can we cut what we’re doing by hand?”
In order to be effective with today’s labor market, we are re-visiting the most basic functions we’re completing as electricians – down to the spools and reels we’re using to run wires. We’re consulting with outside companies to evaluate our work and help us find new ways to do more with different technology.
An age-old standard job on most electrical projects is running conduit. It requires several steps in anchoring, measuring and attaching before any wiring takes place. A newer product Fiske Electric has been using is C-L-X cable, an all-in-one solution that takes several fewer hours to install than classic conduit.
“The highest risk on any project is labor,” Montano says. “We’re trying to reduce it by using different materials and methods. These new products may cost us more, but we’re spending less hours on the project.”
The cost of newer technologies is more than justified in the hours of labor it saves. The final cost of the project may come out the same as what it would have with the less expensive material and more labor, but it just makes sense to make use of technology that is currently easier to get than labor.
This kind of knowledge and experience is a big benefit of working with a company like Fiske Electric, who has decades of experience in managing electrical projects. Learn more about our approach to value engineering through our project management services here.