NATE Unite 2024 Panel - Managing Toward Profitability in Wireless Construction: Insights from Industry Experts

In the fast-paced world of wireless construction, managing budgets and tracking costs efficiently is critical for project success and overall company profitability.

During a recent educational session at NATE 2023, industry experts shared insights and best practices aimed at tackling these unique financial challenges faced by wireless construction companies.

The panelists consisted of:
- Jordan Bankston - National Director of Contractor Solutions at MasTec
- Simon Mushailov - President at SoBro Tower LLC
- Tyler Gray - Director of Operations at Test Communications
- Duane Kingma - Co-Founder at Fieldclix
- Shane Wilhelm - VP of Business Development at Versacom
Here are some key takeaways and strategies discussed during the session:
Importance of Financial Management

Disciplined financial management is foundational to company health in wireless construction, yet also a challenge due to the fast pace and short-term nature of most projects. Simon Mushailov, who is also a CPA, highlighted the importance of accurate, timely updates to help achieve predictable profits. This includes capturing all the relevant financial data in one system, setting project budgets, updating job costs daily, capturing client and vendor transactions (specifically POs and Invoices), and tracking profitability at the project level.

Budgeting and Job Costing

One of the primary challenges identified by the panelists is the effective management of project budgets and job costing. Without accurate tracking of all project costs (including labor, materials, subcontractors, and field expenses), it becomes challenging to assess profitability and make informed project-level decisions. Real-time, accurate data collection is essential for effective job costing, as delays or inaccuracies can lead to cost overruns and adversely affect project profitability.

Data-Driven Decision Making

In the quest for profitability, data is king. By analyzing a wide range of timely project data in one system, companies can make informed decisions to hit operational and financial targets. This can include project milestones, tasks, progress photos, daily job costs, and financial reports, such as Profit & Loss and Work In Progress (WIP). By harnessing the power of data, companies can unlock new opportunities and achieve sustainable profitability in the wireless construction sector.

Role of Technology

Technology has emerged as a game-changer in tracking relevant financial transactions and managing profitability in wireless construction. By leveraging advanced capabilities that come with project management and job costing software like Fieldclix, companies can gain real-time insights into their performance across all active projects. From automated reporting on project spend, to GPS-based tracking of labor costs, technology streamlines processes, enhances accuracy, and empowers decision-making at every level of the organization.

Transparency and Collaboration

Transparency and collaboration are vital ingredients for success in financial management. Involving project managers in the budgeting and job costing processes fosters a culture of ownership and accountability. Clear communication of expectations, coupled with shared access to financial data, ensures that everyone is aligned toward common goals. This includes Field Crews who can be presented with daily updates on important measures like labor hours consumed vs the labor budget. By breaking down silos and encouraging collaboration, companies can optimize their financial outcomes and drive profitability.

Work in Progress (WIP) Management

Work In Progress (WIP) management is a critical aspect of financial management in wireless construction and can provide a more accurate representation of a project's financial health. For example, WIP can add the value of the work completed but not yet invoiced to create a more accurate P&L report. Real-time visibility into WIP allows project managers to make informed decisions, allocate resources efficiently, and ensure that projects remain on schedule and within budget. By integrating WIP management with broader financial management processes, companies can enhance their overall profitability and competitiveness in the wireless construction industry.

Partnering for Success

Successful project outcomes hinge on partnering with the right stakeholders, including subcontractors, vendors, and software providers. Establishing strong relationships built on trust and mutual understanding ensures smooth project execution and minimizes risks associated with subcontractor management. Furthermore, partnering with software companies that understand the specific needs of the business and offer tailored solutions can make sure the software features meet your needs, and more importantly, can help you achieve the desired benefits, including enhanced operational efficiency and long-term growth.
The path to profitability in wireless construction lies in a strategic combination of robust financial management practices, built for purpose software, and effective WIP management. By prioritizing transparency, collaboration, adaptability, data-driven decision-making, and leveraging innovative software solutions, companies can navigate the complexities of the industry and emerge stronger and more profitable than ever before.

Read how the CEO of a Wireless Construction company was able to improve Profit Margins at the Project Level