Months into the economic slide COVID-19’s caused worldwide, many companies are still trying to figure out how to adapt.
In spite of the economic effects of COVID-19, though, construction seems to be relatively resilient. Nationwide new construction starts for May 2020 was 8.8% less compared to May 2019, despite large-scale shutdowns.
Still, the downturn's causing everyone to redefine how they work and where. Diesel and other fuel prices are down, creating new opportunities in trucking. And reduced cargo from Asia is leading many to re-evaluate their supply chains.
In this article we’ll go into:
Jobs On Pause
According to a PWC report, middle-market subcontractors are feeling the biggest impact.
Construction and transportation companies serving oil fields are dealing with the effects of lower oil prices. This includes postponed production and exploration projects.
Many other commercial projects are seeing delays or decreases in jobs. Trucking and paving companies are seeing commercial real estate jobs grind to a halt.
“We have had little to no commercial work. Normally we’re doing FedEx and Amazon distribution services’ parking lots. Our aggregate deliveries also are down, likely due to COVID,” said Bruce Walker, Transportation Manager at P.J. Keating.
Despite lingering economic issues, freight volumes are holding steady due to larger than normal spot rates and increased load postings. For businesses most affected by the pandemic, this might mean diversifying the projects you take on. Consider taking on more public jobs or serving new sectors.
Supply Chain & Communication Shifts
Some contractors and companies are also seeing project delays due to materials on backorder from overseas like structural steel and float glass. In the interim firms may identify alternate suppliers and weigh tax and transfer-pricing components of restructuring their supply chains. Be clear with clients about the potential delays when using your usual “go-to” materials. Then provide the alternative extra costs and potential timelines for your new sourcing.
Beyond PPE and social distancing policies, the way front offices work has also changed as teams continue to work remotely. Many teams have been highly reliant on face-to-face interaction. But remote collaboration tools are now streamlining many routine tasks.
“In Ruckit we share reminders around social distancing and explain to drivers when they can’t get out of trucks. And that they need to wear masks if they need to do,” said Bruce.
Remote dispatch is also easier than ever with tools that provide teams real-time visibility of their drivers’ accepted jobs, location in transit, and the ability to reassign drivers for increased efficiency.
While verification of material deliveries has historically been through paper tickets, state Department of Transportation requirements and the risk of transmission due to human contact with paper is causing companies to adopt new measures.
Many state DOTs are working to move fully into digital tracking and eTickets. Alabama Department of Transportation implemented paperless material-delivery tickets due to the pandemic.
Florida Department of Transportation requires contactless ticketing for material hauling. In a memo sent out by the FDOT they stated:
To ensure social distancing and to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 via physical contact, paper delivery tickets for construction materials may no longer be exchanged by hand at the project site.” the FDOT memo says. The FDOT now lets inspectors receive direct electronic delivery tickets from the plant and e-ticketing for asphalt deliveries.
That means you can invoice your clients faster. And quickly send e-tickets to provide a better customer experience. All without worrying about losing tickets or paper tickets cutting into your margins.
The pandemic’s spurred sweeping changes to collaboration and working environments. The silver lining: many of the advancements emerging in 2020 give teams more time. More time to take on additional jobs. And less time spent texting or emailing for routine tasks.
Learn more about how you can streamline your eTicketing or dispatch by taking a quick tour of Ruckit.