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With NECA’s new KPI Initiative, electrical contractors will be able to streamline their day-to-day operations so they can focus on what they do best.

How Job-Site Data Can Deliver for Electrical Contractors

Oct. 6, 2020
KPIs help increase profits, improve worker safety, and create new business opportunities.

In the NECA seminar, “The New Role of Data in Construction: Key Performance Indicators,” Josh Bone, NECA’s executive director of industry innovation, and Amanda Harbison, NECA’s associate director of research, offered NECA electrical contractors ideas on how they can utilize Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to identify and utilize best practices and new job-site technologies to increase profits, improve worker safety, and create new business opportunities.

Bone said the “industrialization” of job sites now offers electrical contractors new technologies they can use to differentiate themselves from competitors and run their companies more profitably. He told the online audience they need to familiarize themselves with new technologies like pre-fabrication and modular construction, predictive maintenance, wireless monitoring, and connected equipment and augmented reality and visualization to see if they are a fit for their companies. Electrical contractors are developing profitable specialties in some of these technologies to expand their business focus past commodity work available to the lowest bidder. “Industrialization is a huge opportunity for NECA contractors,” Bone said. “You cannot fight it. It’s coming.”

Several of the new technologies in the job-site industrialization arena use IoT sensors to monitor equipment performance and utilization. For example, switchgear could have a sensor programmed to send out alerts to maintenance personnel when vibration or humidity reaches excessive levels, potentially saving money on expensive repairs or prolonged downtime. Bone said another example of using IoT technology to save money is the United Rentals initiative to equip its scissor lifts with IoT-enabled sensors that monitor when the equipment is moved or in use. A contractor can use this data to see what percent of time this lift is actually being used during a rental period – potentially saving them money if they can rethink their work processes to maximize the usage during certain hours and not have to rent out the equipment for as long.

While IoT-enabled sensors helps contractors and maintenance personnel monitor and manage equipment, KPIs can help them manage their business operations. Harbison said although many KPIs are often no more complicated than basic data points, they provide “a focus for strategic and operational improvement, create an analytical basis for decision making, and help focus attention on what matters most in a contractor’s business.”

She and Bone said NECA’s new KPI Initiative will help electrical contractors digitize their job sites by providing electronic forms that will eliminate the need to fill out paper forms for common burdensome processes like tracking attendance and safety procedures. One of the new forms will help electrical contractors electronically track trends in when job-site injuries occur, so they can discover, for example, if more incidents are occurring with new employees who may be unfamiliar with certain tools or processes or during overtime hours when employees are more likely to be tired and prone to mistakes.

About the Author

Jim Lucy | Editor-in-Chief, Electrical Wholesaling & Electrical Marketing

Over the past 40-plus years, hundreds of Jim’s articles have been published in Electrical Wholesaling, Electrical Marketing newsletter and Electrical Construction & Maintenance magazine on topics such as electric vehicles, solar and wind development, energy-efficient lighting and local market economics. In addition to his published work, Jim regularly gives presentations on these topics to C-suite executives, industry groups and investment analysts.

He launched a new subscription-based data product for Electrical Marketing that offers electrical sales potential estimates and related market data for more than 300 metropolitan areas. In 1999, he published his first book, “The Electrical Marketer’s Survival Guide” for electrical industry executives looking for an overview of key market trends.

While managing Electrical Wholesaling’s editorial operations, Jim and the publication’s staff won several Jesse H. Neal awards for editorial excellence, the highest honor in the business press, and numerous national and regional awards from the American Society of Business Press Editors. He has a master’s degree in communications and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Glassboro State College, Glassboro, N.J. (now Rowan University) and studied electrical design at New York University and graphic design at the School for Visual Arts.

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