The quality of any construction project will heavily depend on its material and inventory. Only by having efficient material management can you stay on top of your game and begin and end your project on time. However, in the construction industry, one of the most common challenges people face is managing their supplies and equipment properly. Poor material management can lead to many problems, including messing up the projects timeline and budget.
Below, we discuss some of the most common issues with material management in the construction industry and ways to deal with them. First, Let’s discuss what material management means in the construction industry.
What Is Material Management?
Material management is best described as the planning, managing, and controlling of materials and equipment for a construction project. For example, a material’s timely procurement, obtaining it at reasonable rates, and handling and coordinating it on site all comes under material management.
It is a continuous process that extends from the initiation of requirements in the office to day-to-day operations in the construction field. A material manager must oversee inventory levels, appropriately select and purchase material, negotiate contracts with suppliers to attain the best deals, and handle material on site.
The most common challenges of this field include:
The material management process begins with a bidding plan. Decisions regarding material bid procurement made in the early stage are critical to the project’s overall success. There is also a significant opportunity for cost savings if material managers properly handle the bidding process.
However, one challenge that arises at this stage is that a project’s scope may change while coming together. This can affect the bidding process and may hamper the contracts of all other parties involved. For example, if the property owner decides to change the quality of the material without changing the budget. The general contractor may agree to this but later ask other contractors, such as electrical contractors, brought in last, to lower their bid to accommodate the situation.
General contractors can avoid such situations by maintaining open communication between the owner and all the contractors involved. If all the contractors provide realistic costs and timelines, the general contractor will be better able to determine what accommodations can be made to the project to make the necessary changes the owner wants.
The material purchasing process involves negotiating with manufacturers over the price and quantity of the product. This can be a long process, and therefore the person in charge of this stage must set aside some waiting time between when the material is ordered and when it is required. Without setting aside this time, things can get tricky, and if the material arrives later than when it is required, it can hold up your project and delay your schedule.
Material purchasing may experience delays for two reasons:
- The manufacturer is short on supplies.
- The manufacturer requires more time to finish fabricating everything and get it ready for delivery.
A simple solution to this is to order everything in advance and schedule everything to arrive at least two days before required. You can also break up your project into scheduled shipments based on what is needed when.
After determining your delivery date, time, and location with your supplier, things can still get complicated. Your order may become delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, or you may incur some unexpected costs. Some of the most common problems you may face at this stage can include:
- The material you ordered is delivered to the wrong location.
- A miscommunication between you and the supplier has caused a delay in the time of delivery.
- You have received the wrong quantity of the material. Too little quantity can halt your project. On the other hand, a large amount can lead to storage problems.
You can avoid problems at this stage by ensuring that every deal you make with your supplier is properly written down. Make sure you have effectively communicated with your supplier your projects requirements.
Storage And Inventory Management
After the material has arrived, you may face trouble storing it at an appropriate place or face difficulty keeping track of everything. Moreover, when too many people are involved in the process, miscommunication and material mismanagement are bound to happen.
Construction projects require materials and equipment to be moved continuously between different areas and places. During this process, some of the material either gets lost, or managers lose track of it. This inconsistency can cause problems in the project deadline and disturb the estimated project budget.
To avoid this problem, ensure that you hire a third-party contractor or a general contractor that provides high-quality material management services.
Taurus Projects has a team of material management professionals that can manage and control your inventory across Alberta. Our warehousing assets are located along a major transportation corridor to easily and efficiently ship your materials in all directions. Visit our website for more information.