I did my internship in CSIR organization which helped the local communities with their infrastructure issues as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility initiative. The organization is associated to many not for profit organization that can approach the organization regarding the issues faced by local communities. While I was being part of CSIR organization, one of the not for profit organization approached with a request of assistance for road construction in Mibzana region which is one of the poor local community in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. In order to successfully conduct the project of road construction in the area the CSIR organization secured funding from the South African National Roads Agency.
This project involved labour intensive production because the length of the road which needed to be constructed was stretched for 40 kilometres. There were several aims and objectives of this project initiated by CSIR. The organization wanted to develop a sustainable road infrastructure in order to facilitate development in the local area of Mibzana region and also to generate employment initiatives (Tsehayae et al. 2016). I was allotted the work of recruiting the labour force was allotted the work of recruiting the labour for the project and it was communicated to me that large amount of labour was required for effectively implementing the project. In this project the labour had a big role to play because:
The first role of the labour was to construct a six metre wide and forty kilometre long road. It was to be ensured by the constructors that the road was not compacted in order to avoid traffic issues on the road.
In order to ensure no blockage of water on the roads, labour will also be required for constructing drainage systems for stabilizing washouts.
In this project, labour will also be required for constructing low level causeways across streams and rivers.
It becomes important for the project manager to adopt strategies and adopt tools in order to measure the productivity of each individual involved in the project. It is important to measure productivity because the productivity of the individual impacts the overall productivity of the project which determines the success or failure of the project conducted by the organization.
The first measure that was adopted by the CSIR organization was number of labour required in the construction of one metre of road and how many metres of road was constructed in one day. The metres of road constructed by the labour depicted the effectiveness of the labour involved in the manufacturing process (McCutcheon and Robert 2017). However, this productivity measure was only capable of measuring the overall productivity of the labour involved in the production process.
The second measure of productivity that was involved in the construction process was hour required by each individual to contract one metre of the road. The reduction in the number of the hours was able to depict the relative efficiency one labour over another in the construction process (Cooke et al. 2006).
The measures adopted by the organization along with providing incentives to the individuals who involved the most less time in construction process. Therefore, the process of measuring helped the labours in increasing their contribution towards the project (McCutcheon and Robert 2017).
The three factors that had the potential to impact the productivity of the labour in the construction process included:
The presence of governance issues existing in project implementation can significantly impact the productivity of the labour employed for the construction process. The labour requires guidance on design making along with the resource utilization for maintaining consistent working on the project (Ng et al. 2010). It is essential for the project managers to build a team with all the important stakeholders of the project in order to decide about all the stages of the project in order to ensure that the labourers are continuously working on the site and the work do not stop due to improper planning of the project. It will also be the responsibility of this team or committee to decide upon fair wages to be allotted to the internal workers in the project. It is also important that the team should directly communicate to the labourers and also listen to their doubts and grievances in order to keep them motivated and avoid any kind of delay in the production process.
Impact: The intensity of the delay that can be caused by governance issues in the project implementation is high because the labour employed for the construction process depends upon the decisions taken by the project manager and the important stakeholders of the project. Therefore, any delay in the decision making process or governance issues can have significant impact on the time involved in the production process.
The payment system employed under the project can also be a factor impacting the productivity of the workers. Delayed payments can lead to stymie progress in the construction process of the road. It will be the responsibility of the committee to make sure that the workers are given wages above the minimum wage level because getting low wages can also impact the motivation level of the workers to contribute to the project (Judi et al. 2010). Therefore, it becomes important to ensure that the workers are motivated enough in order to be productive enough for the project so wage level is also an important factor determining the productivity of the workers.
Impact: The employee compensation and benefits provided to the employees have significant association with the contribution of the employees towards the project. Therefore, if issues like payment details will occur in the process of project implementation that this can have significant impact on the employee motivation and significant negative impact on the productivity of the employees towards the project.
The health status of the workers can also impact the productivity of the workers in the project. As the workers will be employed from Mibzana region which is a poor community therefore it is certain that the basic nutrition level required by the individuals to effectively contribute to the project. Therefore, poor health of the workers can pose significant threat to the progress of the project and the timely completion of the project. Therefore, it becomes important for the project manager to identify the health status of the workers before recruiting them for the project.
Impact: The low health status of the workers will increase the intensity of absenteeism during the product which will impact the everyday operations and will definitely increase the time involved in the construction of the road. Absenteeism of workers will not just only lead to delay in the production process but will also lead to over utilization of resources in the construction process which can lead to a loss to the organization (Winters and Ashley 2014). Therefore, the delay in the payments can have significant impact on the cost structure and schedule of the project drafted in the initiation of the project. It can also be recommended to the recruitment to recruit workers from outside the region. The organization can recruit people from a region where labour has good health status.
It is the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that the project schedule is efficiently prepared and implemented. However, due to various uncertainties involved in the production process there is certainty that there arises delay in the completion of the production process. However, it is also important for the manager to understand that the delay caused in the production process is not always bad for the organization and can result to better results of the project. One such delays in the production process can be caused due to delay in the payments to the workers. Along with delay in the production process, payment delays can also result in the reduction of the motivation level of the workers thereby affecting their productivity towards the project. Whereas, regular remuneration can lead to increase in the motivation level thereby leading to timely or beforehand completion of the project.
In order to avoid such delays in the payment process is arbitration clause in the contract given to the workers. The presence of arbitration clause in the contract will increase the trust of the workers on the organization and will also motivate the contractor and the organization to provide timely payments to all the employees involved in the construction process. Arbitration clause in the contract will reduce certainty of dispute among the workers and the organization. Arbitration clause helps in effective scheduling of the important thongs under a project. The organization can also adopt an automatic system under which at timely intervals the remuneration of the employees are generated and transferred to the back accounts of employees.
The delay in the payments received by the labour can either exist due to two reasons, first because the organization does not wants to pay the labour on time and second because the organization may be involved in other important work that it always forgets to pay the labour on time. For both the reasons it becomes important for the organization to understand the importance of timely remuneration and also adopt strategies in order to ensure effectiveness in the procedure of paying salaries to the employees. With the help of arbitration clause the timely payment to the workers will become an important concern for the contractors and the organization and with the help of automatic system the workers will be able to receive timely payments from the organization (Enshassi et al. 2015).
Thus, a change in the payment process and the mindset of the employers will help in increasing the motivation level of employees to contribute towards the progress of the project. The increase in the motivation level of the employees will help in avoiding uncertain delays in the construction process and will therefore prove to be profitable for the organization.
From above analysis it can be easily understood that in order to properly conduct labour intensive projects it becomes important for the organization to form a committee that ensure effective planning if each stage of the project ad in order to ensure no governance issues. It also becomes important for the organization to ensure timely payments to the labourers in order to avoid delays and complete the project on time.
Enshassi, Adnan, and Lina Abuhamra. "Delayed Payment Problems in Public Construction Projects: Subcontractors’ Perspectives." In ICCREM 2015, pp. 567-575. 2015.
Judi, Siti Suhana, and Rosli Abdul Rashid. "Contractor’s right of action for late or non-payment by the employer." Journal of Surveying, Construction and Property 1, no. 1 (2010).
McCutcheon, Robert. "Engineering and labour-intensive construction." IMIESA 42, no. 10 (2017): 108-111.
Ng, S. Thomas, and Ziwei Tang. "Labour-intensive construction sub-contractors: Their critical success factors." International Journal of Project Management 28, no. 7 (2010): 732-740.
Tsehayae, Abraham Assefa, and Aminah Robinson Fayek. "System model for analysing construction labour productivity." Construction Innovation 16, no. 2 (2016): 203-228.
Winters, Ashley. "Regardless of Potential Scrutiny, the Arbitration Clause of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order (2014) Should Not Have a Resounding Impact." Ohio St. J. on Disp. Resol. 31 (2016): 179.
Cooke, Philip, and Loet Leydesdorff. "Regional development in the knowledge-based economy: The construction of advantage." The journal of technology Transfer 31, no. 1 (2006): 5-15.
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