Essential Materials Management Tips to Help Contractors Boost On-Site ProductivityThe average construction worker spends 90 minutes every day looking for things like misplaced parts, tools, and equipment. That time can quickly add up, totalling almost 20,000 hours each year for a jobsite with only 50 workers.

Lost time can lead to heightened costs and delayed progress, which can affect the overall success of the project. Managing on-site materials effectively and efficiently is the key to keeping everyone (and everything) running like the well-oiled machine you depend on.

Here are five tips from us to help you streamline and simplify materials management processes on your jobsite:

1. Eliminate the Duplicate Handling of Materials

Maximizing efficiency means reducing the time and number of steps needed to get materials from point A to point B:

  • Rely on delivery personnel to transport materials to the right location within your site. This will prevent your crews from having to use their valuable time re-locating supplies after they’ve been dropped off, keeping your costs in check and the project working on time.
  • Refrain from moving materials more than once. The goal should be to get materials as close as possible to either the installation site or a centralized, well-organized storage area.

Make sure you coordinate your deliveries so the right people will be available to help unload supplies or provide direction on where materials should go. Outline a delivery schedule that contractors and sub-contractors can adhere to, though you should keep it flexible enough to accommodate special activities and shipments for which delivery times are harder to pin down (like orders being transported via long-distance trucking).

2. Use the Right Storage Solutions

Your storage arrangements should always be designed tactfully to factor in the physical limitations and inventory schedules (what’s coming in and when, what will be used and when, etc.) specific to your jobsite.

A few things to keep in mind are:

  • Take the weather into account. Some supplies can be stored outside (set on pallets to protect them from ground moisture and covered by a roof or tarp), while others (like some power tools) need to be kept inside at all times when they’re not in use.
  • Sort materials when they arrive, prioritizing items in the order you’ll need them to provide ready accessibility.
  • Make sure you have space to sort waste by type (metal, wood, drywall, etc.) before it’s removed from the jobsite.

Having the correct storage solutions in place will make materials easier to manage throughout the duration of your project.

3. Minimize the Distance People Need to Go to Get Materials

Every minute counts on your jobsite, which is why having materials close at hand is important.

Supplies should ideally be kept as close to the installation site as possible to reduce the amount of time your crews need to spend retrieving and replacing tools and equipment. Consider keeping smaller items in dedicated, well organized containers and replenishing them from on- or off-site inventories as often as necessary.

4. Use the Right Tools for Your Job

Having the right tools – including best-in-class equipment and fully stocked inventories – makes all the difference. Review your usage patterns weekly or bi-weekly to find out which items you’re using more versus less of, tailoring future orders to match evolving needs.

5. Analyze Costs and Productivity Levels

In order to evaluate and refine your plans, you need to know what challenges and conditions you’re up against. Implementing a tracking system lets you monitor the flow of resources and people on your jobsite to identify:

  • Flaws associated with the planning process.
  • Working conditions that might be unsafe.
  • Insufficient supplies of the necessary tools, parts, and equipment.

These are all factors that can influence the efficiency of your crews and the costs (both material and labour) you incur.

On-Site Materials Management Made Easy with Kelly Kabinet

kelly kabinetKelly Kabinet is a managed service that keeps your teams working by ensuring everything they need is always nearby where and when they need it. The Kelly Kabinet service is free and customizable, with inventory lists and re-stocking schedules being tailored to suit your unique needs.

With Kelly Kabinet, you can benefit from:

  • Enhanced Control: Your Kelly Kabinet can be secured and locked with keys only you have, giving you physical control over your inventory. Does something need to be restocked? The order will need to be approved by you for improved transparency.
  • Streamlined Operations: Your Kelly Kabinet rep is there for more than just the Kelly Kabinet. Do you need a non-Kelly Kabinet item? Just ask! If they can’t get it themselves, they’ll arrange it with our warehouse and delivery staff.
  • Controlled Costs: We’ll be there from A to Z – producing orders, filling them, delivering, and putting everything away. This keeps your jobsite running, cuts down on workloads for on-site clerical staff, and makes cleanup easier.

Ultimately, you need to make sure you tailor your storage and materials handling strategies to meet the needs of your jobsite, boost productivity, and generate results.


With over 45 years of experience, we know that every job is different. Contact us today to get the Kelly Kabinet’s Inventory Management System’s flexible, secure, and cost-effective solutions working for you!

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