The final data collection step is teaching the field crews and foremen how to fill out the paperwork correctly. Give them examples. Have them fill out a couple of time cards together in your office. Provoke questions and answer them.
We all know how much the field workers hate paperwork. If they liked paper work they would have become desk jockeys. They didn't and they don't so you'll need to sell your employees on the value of the sending in accurate data.
Explain that the data is essential for setting realistic budgets and schedules. Explain that their personal financial security is tied to you knowing your costs. After you've answered the "What's In It For Me?" question, hold your foremen accountable for submitting complete and accurate time sheets. Job costing is not as important as safety, but it runs a pretty close second.
Data Storage & Analysis
You will find that storing your labor productivity job-cost data in a spreadsheet is by far the easiest way to analyze it. Export the data to Microsoft Excel or enter it directly into Excel from the start. Group and sort the data. Throw it into charts and tables (have someone set up Pivot Tables for you, they're the greatest for this task). Look for trends and averages. Update your estimating and schedule based on the conclusions the information reveals.
Job costing is a hot button with contractors - as well it should be. If a contractor can't tell whether he is making money on his jobs, he is going to get into financial trouble. The risk of job costing is that you can waste a lot of employee time collecting information that turns out to be worthless. To run a business that produces a predictable profit you must accept the headaches associated with collecting and analyzing job-cost data. Job-costing systems are very, very difficult to get right. But they are essential to survival in the construction industry!