Even before the major crisis happens, there are many concerns in the construction sector around the supply chain and the costs of construction materials. In fact, there are some trade tensions across the globe, particularly between two key supplier-buyers, China and United States. As a result, it has led to rising costs and problems with some contractors’ construction materials acquisition process. Did your construction business has been affected too?
However, today’s ongoing crisis forces many to take their building and construction management procedures to keep the work moving. In this blog, discover and learn how best to address uncertainties to your construction materials.
The 2021 Construction and Building Materials Crisis Explained
It all started in the summer of 2021. There was this huge disruption within the construction industry due to escalating prices and supply shortages. And this construction materials shortage presents an acute issue in construction.
Have you noticed how the issues have grown more severe as the year has progressed? These issues are causing big disruption to the industry. There is this unfortunate combination of factors that are creating difficult conditions in the construction supply chain.
Numerous overseas items face a vast supply shortage, with all the materials from Far East Asia and Europe seeing significant jumps in price. You might have seen prices leap 110% only for timber. There’s an impact on lead times, too.
Demand remaining constant
For sure, you are persistent in getting your construction materials basically because of your line-up projects and your waiting clients. The intensity of today’s demand has skyrocketed the tenacity needed to source out materials. It has been a global issue with a mix of factors, given that everything is affected by the introduction of new charges.
Compounding Issues and Market Changes
It has been a problem after a problem. And it has created a situation where you do not even know what will happen in the construction industry that has been badly affected. Hence, the question of what the future will hold remains.
A price rise is most likely to persist. There can be a 15% increase in the next five years. Preparing for continuous demand is crucial as this will continue for some time, especially today’s trend about people wanting to construct as soon as possible remains constant.
Changing business plans
Investing and expanding at this point in time is another spurring decision that is considered practical. Any investments instantly become worthwhile, especially if they can meet even a higher portion of the demand. If expanding and investing in your plan, you should be ready to deliver a much better service to your clients. Moreover, it would help if you also be prepared and cautious of continuous price growth and greater difficulty in getting construction supplies.
Material Tracking is Way More Important than Ever
Everything cited above only shows that there is no crystal ball for forecasting and predicting tomorrow’s material costs. Yet, preventing construction material waste is one of the costliest and most challenging challenges every contractor faces. With tons of moving parts on your current projects today, it is easy to overlook just how the parts, materials, and tools are being used and accounted for.
However, with supply chain uncertainty and razor-thin profit margins in the near future, it is clear that you should be going to be scrutinizing your material process even more. You are then responsible for tracking your construction materials. Material tracking is a crucial aspect of your inventory management in construction since it can also impact the success of your company’s bottom line.
Here are some five strategies you can implement to achieve seamless and easy material tracking, helping you to address uncertainties related to your materials effectively.
1. Make use of Real-Time Tracking
Real-time tracking is a great feature given by some of today’s latest solutions. Real-time tracking allows you to track the movements of materials on the go easily. Some of the best construction technologies, like Pro Crew Schedule, integrate real-time tracking for the four core project elements – assets, materials, people and inventory – with standard project timelines, further improving the productivity of your construction business, which is a real win.
2. Utilize Unique Tracking Identifiers
Are you familiar with barcodes? These tracking identifiers are a must-have. They act as a social security number for all your stocks. With these barcodes, you can track all your materials from procurement, delivery, storage, and usage.
In construction, below are some of the common identifiers used:
- Bar codes – Many items are shipped with UPC barcodes on the packaging. You can simply utilize the barcodes for your inventory identifiers in some cases.
- QR codes – While barcodes are universal with serial numbers, using QR codes is highly recommended as they can store more data, be faster to scan and withstand damages.
- RFID – It is short for Radio Frequency Identification. RFID commonly facilitates the control of a wide range of processes. It can track thousands of high-value assets being used in construction.
Leading construction companies all over the globe are already benefiting from this particular trend. In addition, almost 68% of today’s construction companies use web-based inventory software to input barcodes and manage inventory. Trying to handle your construction projects without barcode and construction technology is impractical.
3. Design and Plan Your Inventory Management System
You better be wise in planning your construction inventory management system. Asking the following questions will help:
- If a jobsite is out from the primary coverage area, where are the secondary points?
- Where exactly are the main delivery and central storage point for inventory?
- Where should you consider paying fees when it comes to delivery?
All the questions above should be addressed in the groundwork of your inventory system. In addition, train your construction team to be well informed about your company’s warehouses and storage locations. And to better plan your inventory management system, you must also know its key components. It can be divided into the following components:
- Procurement scheduling and purchasing
- Quantity planning, estimation, and budgeting
- Receiving goods and doing the inspection for damages
- On-site handling and transport
- Stock-control, storage, and warehouse placement
- Waste management
If you correctly designed and implemented this system, many benefits are sure to be reaped not just in your inventory but also in your company’s overall operational efficiency.
4. Deploy Latest Technologies
You can profit from someone else’s software applications. Technology makes life and business easier. So, where should you start exactly? Use cloud-based software that will sync all data across sites despite different locations.
Cloud-based inventory management software provides crucial information in real-time, helping you respond to transactions and events within seconds.
5. Manage Your Relationships with Your Suppliers
Inventory supply partners are crucial elements of your construction inventory planning process and your company operations. It is crucial to implement the best practices to help you acquire the most from your suppliers. These commonly include:
- Be transparent when dealing with your suppliers to understand better why you need the construction materials to be sent quickly. The better the overall communication is, the fewer issues you will encounter when purchasing construction materials.
- Cost overruns and project delays arise from contract disputes which often end badly. Ensure to clarify key performance points ahead of time to make sure that you are all on the same page.
- Clarify prices, delivery dates, refund, and return policies.
- Clarify expected product quality amidst negotiations.
Modern Materials Approach using Online Inventory Software.
To effectively manage and track construction materials, you need a modern, integrated software solution that can provide you with real-time updates right from the job site to the warehouse and the vendor supply chain.
Pro Crew Schedule, a cloud-based scheduling software, provides just that. It can give you and your company a truly connected software that collaboratively ties your back-office professionals with all project teams and field operations. Hosted in the cloud, Pro Crew Schedule combines leading-edge project management and inventory features, giving you a source of data truths across your construction organization.
Pro Crew Schedule helps you in getting ahead of your construction materials and supply chain issues, allowing you to:
· Track entire construction inventory list and overall costs across different locations
- Track raw materials, giving you real-time and automatic updates.
- Manage many moving parts
- Seamlessly tracked ordered, quoted, and actual units
- Create real-time reports to inform you and your crew members
If you are new to this software solution, get started with a 30-day trial for FREE! Experience what Pro Crew Schedule offers firsthand.
Whether supply chains and price rise struggles, staying on top of your materials will help you obtain a competitive edge over the intense competition. When you show your clients how resilient and dedicated you are amidst the supply chain struggles, your clients will most likely develop trust with you, resulting in more winning jobs and lasting business relationships. There is indeed a reward to be reaped when you address uncertainties and find the best solution to the current problems.