How to Track Resource Utilization: The growth and success of all project-based and serviced organizations depend on various factors, of which employees are the primary driving force.
However, only hiring and assigning the right-skilled resources to projects will not guarantee business profitability. Instead, the workforce must be utilized to their highest potential on billable or strategic work.
Resource utilization is one of the most critical KPIs that helps evaluate, monitor, and improve workforce productivity.
However, most organizations underestimate the significance of tracking resource utilization rates. In fact, a study by HubSpot claimed that only 58% of businesses are tracking their team’s utilization rates!
This article explains why organizations must track resource utilization regularly and how they can maximize it effectively.
Let’s get started.
Why Is Tracking Resource Utilization Important?
Tracking the utilization rates of resources is paramount to running a profitable business. It helps understand which resource is working on what type of work. It, in turn, allows managers to systematically mobilize resources from non-billable work to billable and strategic jobs, thereby improving ROI.
Further, the visibility of employee utilization rates enables the managers to assess the resources’ performance in real-time. This also helps ensure that every resource is optimally utilized and prevents over/underutilization. Analyzing and predicting the utilization data also helps managers plan the pipeline projects’ demands proactively. They can implement suitable training/upskilling opportunities for benched resources to minimize idle time and increase productive utilization.
Given the importance of utilization tracking, let’s understand how it is done.
How to Track Resource Utilization?
Earlier, to track resource utilization, managers used manual registers, excel spreadsheets, or legacy software which were cumbersome, inefficient, and could not scale up to meet the growing business’s needs. Therefore, the best way to do that is to invest in modern time-tracking tools like SAVIOM’s Resource Management Solution, equipped with advanced functionalities to streamline the process.
Here’s how they help.
2.1 Analyze forecast vs. actual reports
A resource management solution provides forecast-vs-actual utilization reports that give insight into employees’ performance in real-time. The forecasted time is taken from the resource schedule, and the actual data is drawn from employees’ timesheets. These reports help the manager determine if the time taken by any resource on any specific task is more or less than the initial estimates.
2.2 Track the utilization for different categories
Using a robust resource management tool, managers can track employees’ utilization under the following categories:
- Project- In this scenario, the overall utilization of all the resources working on a particular project is calculated.
- Team- Here, the utilization of each team member is considered. They either work on department or project-specific tasks
- Individual, where each individual resource’s utilization is tracked based on the work allocated against their capacity. This helps evaluate their performance and check if any resource is over/underutilized.
2.3 Leverage utilization heat maps
A resource management solution provides heat maps, which are color-coded representations of the utilization of resources, teams, departments, etc. Here different colors signify different percentage ranges of utilization or availability. This comprehensive analysis helps managers determine if there are any over/under-allocated resources and takes suitable remedial measures to optimize their utilization.
Now that we know how to keep track of utilization rates, let’s look at how to improve them:
5 Effective Ways to Maximize Utilization Rate
People often mistake 100% utilization with productive utilization. However, true productivity implies being engaged in billable and strategic work instead of mundane non-billable BAU or admin activities.
Here’s a rundown of how advanced resource management software helps to maximize the utilization rate:
3.1 Implement suitable resource optimization techniques
An advanced resource management solution provides visibility and utilization reports that enable managers to identify overutilized resources easily. Accordingly, they can implement suitable optimization techniques like resource leveling and smoothing based on the project’s nature.
For time-bound projects, they can leverage resource smoothing to pull in more resources to ease the team’s workload and complete the project within the fixed timeline. For projects with flexible timelines, they can leverage resource leveling to adjust the start and end dates based on resources’ schedules and ensure project success.
3.2 Foresee ramp-down activities and minimize bench size
A lack of foresight into a project’s ramp-down activities results in a long time of benched resources. As a result, it leads to sub-optimal utilization of resources, low employee morale, and ROI. Managers can overcome this situation by predicting ramp-down activities across the enterprise’s projects using an advanced resource forecasting solution. This will help them ascertain the number of resources that will end up on the bench soon.
Further, using the project vacancy reports, they can get information on all upcoming projects’ requirements regarding skills and competencies. Accordingly, managers can proactively assign resources to billable and strategic work before landing on the bench.
3.3 Mobilize employees from non-billable to billable tasks periodically
Employees’ productivity and performance show a severe dip when they are constantly given non-billable work. For instance, assigning an expensive senior resource to a non-billable or non-critical task will escalate project costs and demoralize them as their skills won’t be efficiently utilized. Therefore, to avoid this, managers need to keep a regular check on the workforce schedules.
A resource management tool provides enterprise-wide visibility into resources’ work schedules. This helps managers identify what percentage of an individual’s capacity is spent on billable, strategic, or non-billable tasks. Accordingly, they can mobilize them to billable/strategic work and maximize productivity. It thus helps enhance billability and profitability and engages the workforce.
3.4 Foster a shared-services model
A shared-services model is a key to maximizing the utilization of resources to the highest potential. Therefore, managers can leverage a shared services model to allocate resources across diverse projects.
The resource management solution offers 360-degree visibility and advanced filters. Using this feature, managers can select and deploy the best-fit resources beyond their functional boundaries based on projects’ skill requirements. This way, they can nurture a shared-services model and enhance cross-functional collaboration to maximize resource utilization rates and overall profitability and productivity.
3.5 Provide training/upskilling opportunities as appropriate
One of the most effective ways to leverage employees’ skills and utilize them optimally is by organizing training/upskilling programs. With a resource management tool, managers can get foresight into pipeline projects’ demands. They then assess the existing resource pool, identify skill gaps and initiate suitable training/upskilling programs to fulfill project demands.
This way, the multi-skill building of the workforce enables managers to deploy resources on diverse projects and keep their utilization at an optimum level. It also reduces the bench time of resources and makes them future-ready for critical pipeline projects, ensuring higher utilization rates for all resources.
Tracking resource utilization and maximizing it is one of the cornerstones to ensuring a business’s success. However, without the right tools, tracking utilization becomes a daunting task.
Nevertheless, leveraging SAVIOM’s advanced resource management solutions with the above practices can help you maximize the workforce utilization levels and improve productivity and profitability.