When you are on a construction site, you must manage a lot of inventory. These items are vital to finishing the job, from materials, tools, and equipment to construction technology. There are tight deadlines for construction projects, and you can quickly lose money if they get off track or are late. The work does not get done if your crew does not have the necessary resources to do their jobs. This is where a sound system for keeping track of your inventory comes in handy.
For every project, construction companies need an accurate and up-to-date inventory management system that lets everyone see real-time information about their resources. This can be challenging, especially when several jobs are going on simultaneously. In this article, let us dive into inventory management, its different types, and five tips on creating an efficient and sound system.
What is Construction Inventory Management?
Generally, an inventory lists all the assets and resources in a particular place at a specific time. As such, construction inventory management is a way for companies and suppliers to keep track of the materials, equipment, and plants. This is especially important when a contractor has a lot to manage, making it hard to create a schedule and a system that works for everyone.
A well-managed inventory is crucial to ensuring profitability since late, misplaced, or lost items can cause extensive delays and extra costs that could have been easily avoided. An essential part of planning a project is making a schedule and a list of all the materials, labor, and equipment of how much is needed and when it is required. Luckily, many software packages can help with inventory management, and they can save time and effort, which can help contractors and suppliers make more money.
What are The Types of Inventory Management in Construction?
Inventory management is a complex and essential part of every construction project. Many people think of it mostly in buying and delivering things, and however, it is much more than that. It includes a much more comprehensive range of tasks, from planning and buying to managing and getting rid of waste. This section lets us know about the different types of inventory management in construction – namely, material management, tools management, equipment management, and construction technology management. You must be able to consider all four types of inventory management to ensure smooth and seamless project delivery.
Construction Material Management
Construction material management is properly sourcing materials at the right price within your planned budget. It also ensures they are available at the right place and time to meet project requirements and deadlines. Concrete, wood, brick, glass, steel, and stone are all materials that are often used on a construction site. Managing construction materials includes a wide variety of tasks such as:
- Planning for, buying, or sourcing out the materials
- Scheduling deliveries or picking up the materials
- Receiving and checking the quality
- Keeping track of your inventory
- Designing your storage and warehouse system
- Waste management
Managing your construction materials can make or break a project’s budget. For example, you are already at the stage of laying out your reinforcements, but you still do not have your steel rods on site. This scenario can cause costs to go through the roof, make your workers unproductive, or even miss project milestones and deadlines.
Construction Tools Management
A long list of tools is required for working with concrete, bricks, leveling, wood, floors, slabs, laying bricks, or plastering. These tools help make the job easier, so it must be appropriately managed. Workers can also use safety tools, such as harnesses, helmets, and safety shoes, to avoid accidents that might happen out of the blue.
An efficient tool management system can quickly solve these problems and give you more freedom to use all your tools and construction equipment. It can let you set up a system of accountability that shows you who checked out a device, how it is being used, and which tools haven’t been returned yet. You can use this vital data to find out where each tool or piece of equipment is and make better use of your inventory. This can also help you monitor worker productivity and tell which employees are misusing tools and which ones need more training. Here are some standard tools for construction that you might see on the job site.
- Bump cutter/screed
- Circular saw
- Concrete mixer
- Cordless drill
- Digging bar
- End frames
- Hand saw
- Iron pan hoe
- Plane, Jack
- Pins and string
Construction Equipment Management
Choosing the right equipment for a building project is essential for the budget, schedule, and execution. Since most equipment is expensive, you must decide first if you want to invest in one or just rent one. Usually, a company designates construction equipment managers. They are in charge of buying, repairing, and maintaining the equipment and storing, cleaning, and moving it. When a construction equipment manager has the correct information and tools to do their job, the whole project goes smoothly, and equipment is better managed, scheduled, and maintained. To create a sound construction equipment management system, you must be able to should answer the following questions:
- What equipment is required for your specific project?
- Should you invest, or should you rent what you need?
- What are the costs you might incur when running or moving your equipment?
- Can you get the most out of your equipment and tools?
- What should you do for your preventive maintenance?
Without good equipment management, construction companies have more equipment breakdowns and failures, projects over budget, productivity stalls, and less money. Here are some examples of standard construction site equipment:
- Boom Lift
- Scissor Lift
- Wheel Tractor-Scraper
- Backhoe Loader
- Off-Highway Truck
- Asphalt Paver
Construction Technology Management
Technology is changing quickly and evolving in the construction industry, intending to help construction businesses finish projects more rapidly and safely. You may have used different software to help with office work, but many advanced construction techniques can be used in the field. However, if you do not use these technologies correctly, you might miss many of their benefits and waste your money.
Implementing new tech trends in construction management will significantly give your business an edge over other companies – making the job site safer and making it easier to talk to subcontractors in a clear, concise way. Here are some types of building technology you can try:
- AI and Machine Learning
- Autonomous Equipment
- Cameras and Drones
- Building Information Modeling (BIM)
- Laser Scanning and RFIDs
- Weighing and Monitoring Solution
- Construction Software
Five Tips to Creating Your Inventory Management System
When managing construction, many things can come out of the blue, throwing a job site into chaos. It could be like broken equipment, missing tools, lousy weather, or mistakes in the design of the building that were not noticed.
It is no secret that building projects and the resources used cost a lot of money. With tight budgets and even tighter deadlines, companies focus more on the bottom line and how to create an efficient system that ensures smooth and seamless construction progress. Many inventory software offers construction automation systems that let companies record and access up-to-date, accurate information about your resources. Here are five helpful tips to get you started with managing your inventory:
Make a Complete List of Your Inventory
Do you know what equipment you have in your stock? Do you have a list of resources you might need for the next few weeks? You might have an idea, but having a carefully curated list of the required inventory can help your project progress according to plan.
On your inventory list, you should have the following:
- A complete list of all your equipment, assets, and materials
- Vital information, such as the price, location, and quantity
- Updates on how your stock is changing – who pulled out what materials, or who are using a specific tool
Keep Track of How It Is Utilized
When you have a clear overview of your current inventory, the next step is understanding how to use it. For each piece of equipment down to the smallest nail, you should be able to answer the following questions:
- How often do people use it?
- How is it used?
- How is it used, and where?
When you know what you have and how it is used, you can make intelligent choices about managing your current and future inventory.
Assign Your Inventory to The Right Place At The Right Time
How should you divide your assets between your different places of business? With accurate and up-to-date data on how your inventory is used, you can assign them where they are most needed. You can always keep your inventory at the proper levels, avoiding a surplus on one project and a shortage on the other.
Stay on Top of Every Project Detail
Inventory management is much easier when you know everything about your building projects. Knowing the details of a project, like deadlines and budgets, makes it easier to handle equipment requests and ensure that the right equipment goes to the right job. Understanding details like the project’s location and how far it is from the pick-up point can help with choosing the right equipment, making schedules for the equipment and operators, and even maintaining and billing.
Utilize a Construction Software
As a project manager, your job is constantly to think of ways to use the available data to streamline and optimize your processes. While there is a lot of software available in the market these days, you should find one that offers all three parts of construction – crew, inventory, and scheduling management. Make sure your technology can share so that all your vendors and stakeholders can access the same information to keep everyone on the same page.