5 Reasons Why Effective On-Site Material Management Matters
January 24, 2018, 10:12 PM /
Implementing effective material management practices can bring major benefits for projects of any scope and size. At its core, it’s about taking steps at every stage—planning, procuring, storing, distributing, and beyond—to ensure the right tools and supplies are available to your crews where and when they need them so they can get the job done on time and within budget.
We’ve put together this guide, which explores five of the top reasons you need to make sure you’re managing materials effectively on your jobsite:
1. Improve Labour Productivity
Labour productivity, often measured in the number of hours taken to complete a given task, is one of the most important metrics on any jobsite for two reasons:
- Tracking it can give you valuable insights into actions you can take to stop problems before they start, streamline existing processes, or kickoff new practices to help you improve overall performance.
- Labour productivity can have a domino effect, either negative or positive, throughout the site and on the entire project. If crews are not able to work at peak efficiency, that can skew a range of variables including material and wage costs, outputs, and more.
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome can be material management. It’s not unheard of for crews to spend up to 40% of their working time with material management-related tasks, taking their focus away from jobs that really matter and representing a major drain on a project’s momentum.
What can you do to boost on-site productivity? Click here to read our five tips!
2. Enhance On-Site Efficiencies
On average, construction workers spend over an hour each day simply looking for things like misplaced tools, parts, and equipment. This time can quickly add up to almost 400 hours per year per worker.
To help your jobsite run more smoothly, make sure that you:
- Avoid duplicate handling to prevent your own crews from needing to spend their valuable time re-locating and organizing goods after they have arrived.
- Minimize how far people need to go to access tools and supplies. Your goal should be to get materials as close as possible to either the installation site or a primary storage area.
For maximum versatility with larger projects, one approach to consider is maintaining the bulk of your supplies in a centralized, well-organized hub and deploying a fleet of cabinets throughout the site. These units can be stocked to meet the needs of individual teams. When a group changes locations, mobile cabinets can be moved with them and stationary ones can be re-filled with everything they will need in their new work area.
The key is to make sure your material management solutions are tailored to meet the needs of your project, site, and crews.
3. Minimize Waste
In the United States alone, new construction projects are estimated to generate as much as 50 tons of waste every year. In addition to rejected structures and used materials, one of the biggest contributors to this problem is the procurement of excess or unneeded supplies.
Project and site managers need to be especially vigilant at two stages—when product is being procured and when it is being stored. At these points, it is important to:
- Make sure you know what you need. Communicate with contractors and their crews to understand what miscellaneous and major materials they will depend on to complete their tasks.
- Establish a clear and consistent ordering process. In some cases, the project manager will handle all the purchases. In others it might make more sense to delegate and divide responsibilities (have general contractors look after commonplace and miscellaneous items while tradespeople and sub-contractors buy their own major supplies).
- Remember Goldilocks’ rule—the quantities you order need to be just right. Ordering too much can cause logistical headaches brought about by storage shortfalls, and not ordering enough can impair productivity since teams won’t have the supplies they need to carry out their work. Aim to purchase roughly 80% of your necessary supplies. That will prevent you from buying too much to start, and you can get the rest when your project is closer to completion.
One thing to consider when choosing a supplier or suppliers is whether or not you will be able to return unused product at the end of the job. Having this option makes it easier to control and reduce resource usage, waste, and costs.
4. Keep Materials Safe and Secure
Losses—whether items are misplaced, damaged, or stolen—can present major operational and financial hurdles on jobsites. Enforcing practical material management solutions can help to ease these challenges by:
- Providing transparency surrounding inventory levels. With precise information on hand about how much of the missing item you should have, you will be able to act quickly to resolve the situation.
- Increasing physical supervision using locks and other access-control devices.
What are some of the material manage challenges you face on your jobsite? Read our blog to learn more about the most common problems and how to solve them!
5. Streamline Planning and Budgeting
Materials alone can consume over 50% of a project’s budget, which is why managing them effectively really matters.
In order to refine future plans and adjust approaches, it’s important to understand what exactly you are up against. Consider questions like:
- Do we typically order the right amounts and types of supplies? If not, why?
- Have we had issues getting materials to the site? Do we get them to the right spots quickly once they arrive?
- Are our storage solutions flexible yet secure enough to meet our needs?
- Have we streamlined our ordering process? If we’re not already doing this, could we automate all or parts of it?
Continually improving your material management processes is one of the best ways to make beneficial adjustments that keep projects on track, boost productivity, improve results, and control costs.
Material Management Made Just for You with Fastening House
Fastening House is about more than simply selling you a product. With decades of experience under our belts, we are the true experts at creating and implementing material management processes that save time, increase efficiencies, manage soft costs, and improve results.
One of the most important things we can emphasise about material management is that one-size-fit-all systems don’t work. Every project and site has its own challenges and needs, which is why we work with you to tailor a customized approach:
- We create individual inventory stock sheets and can give insights into items you might be able to add or remove, producing a quote once you finalize your selections.
- We identify the storage arrangements that will be best for your location, whether you need a full-size sea container, a fleet of rolling cabinets, or a combination.
- We schedule a set-up date so we can deliver and stock your storage solutions with all your supplies. During our regular service calls, we’ll re-stock your supplies to the levels outlined in your inventory sheet.
- After the job is done, we’ll return any items in re-saleable condition and clean up with no additional fees, ensuring a seamless process from start to finish.
We stock thousands of products—from fasteners to safety supplies to cutting tools and everything in between—and ship nationwide.
Our Material Management Services and Solutions
We provide a variety of services encompassing:
- Inventory management (kitting, consignment and just-in-time inventory, and jobsite cleanup).
- Purchasing (invoice consolidation and blanket purchase orders).
- Shipping (fleet services as well as next-day, same-day, rush, and remote deliveries).
- Repairs for product lines including Greenlee, Milwaukee, DEWALT, Ridgid, and more.
- Safety certifications, which include on-site inspections and reviews.
- Emergency services for after-hours support.
Fastening House also offers a range of physical storage solutions including:
- Stationary cabinets, ideal for storing day-to-day items like fasteners, cutting tools, safety supplies, and everything in between.
- Rolling cabinets that you can easily move to different areas around your site when and where your crews need them.
- Full-size sea containers, which help you keep track of both the smaller items (everyday nuts and bolts) alongside the larger, more expensive ones like power tools, rods, and struts. Sea containers are perfect for remove locations, since they can be stocked with a wealth of supplies and act as your own on-site store.
- Vaults that give couriers a place to simply and securely store shipments, particularly if they arrive when you’re not there.
Storage units are provided free of charge for the duration of your project with no additional fees for delivery, goods, or services. We can also provide a range of transportation tools (aerial lifts, flat carts, dollies, and pump trucks) as well as on-site security.
What Makes Fastening House the Preferred Material Management Partner for Your Site
- Anytime, Anywhere Access: Regardless of your location, maintaining on-site and fully stocked storage solutions ensures your crews have access to key supplies where and when they need them.
- Enhanced Control: All of the products held in your storage solutions have barcodes and identifiers, which allows you to analyze important data about how supplies have been used and plan more effectively in the future based on actual use patterns.
- Maximum Security: Your storage solutions can be secured and locked when not in use, and any restocking orders need to be approved by you.
- National Distribution: From our 40,000 square foot distribution centre located just outside of Toronto, we service branches and customers throughout Canada.
- Boost Labour Productivity: Ultimately, effective material management is all about efficiencies. By choosing to work with Fastening House, you are making sure your on-site teams will be able to focus on what matters—completing tasks and projects on time and within budget.
With over 45 years of industry experience, we know that every job is different. Contact us today to get our flexible, secure, and cost-effective material management solutions working for you!
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