It’s not uncommon for contractors to face material management obstacles. Projects are often delayed because of haphazard storage, damaged products and other issues. While some of these problems are out of a contractor’s control, others can be solved with outside expertise, preventative measures, and Lean practices.
Here’s a closer look at three material management roadblocks all contractors should know about — and how to get around them.
Contractors can waste a lot of time asking questions about inventory. They might not know what’s already on site, what’s been ordered, what’s arrived, or where items have been stored. The most efficient way to get a firmer handle on your material is by partnering with an electrical distributor. These businesses use their logistical expertise in combination with Lean construction principles to help you implement a solid material management plan. They apply techniques such as just-in-time delivery, pre-fabrication, and value stream mapping to give workers easy access to the tools they need for the job. These services allow contractors to focus on getting the work done rather than inventory concerns.
Damaged material is a huge roadblock for contractors. Incidents can happen at any time, but some defects occur before delivery. Contractors aren’t responsible for material that's damaged before they get it, but they could still pay a price. Taking the time to notify the supplier and wait for replacements costs more time and money. Contractors could also assume responsibility for material that is ruined in storage. There are many ways to prevent product damage, such as avoiding cluttered aisles and not overloading racks and shelves. Workers should also be trained on proper machine and material handling to further reduce liability.
Stopping work to receive material dampers productivity. Most contractors don’t have time to thoroughly inspect orders. They often just sign for packages, put them aside and return to work. This can be an expensive choice, especially if they receive many shipments. Inaccurate orders can result in more expenses and downtime, putting a project at risk of being delayed and over-budget.
Storage is also a major concern. Centralized, non-organized storage areas force contractors to stop work to look for material. These areas are often unsupervised and "picked through," increasing the risk of damage, theft, loss and injury. As a project progresses, workers may take items that aren’t theirs, or inadvertently throw away material they need. The good news is that these problems can be avoided. Distributors offer services such as repackaging and pin-point location delivery to help reduce waste and ensure consistent, seamless material flow. They also work on the front lines to make sure incoming deliveries are on time and accurate.
Keep Your Project Going
Construction jobs shouldn’t be disrupted by ineffective material management. Consider working with an accomplished electrical distributor to help maintain precise inventory and improve productivity. Implementing Lean practices and offering training will also help you avoid product damage, downtime, and added costs. Taking these simple steps could produce positive business results while making your workers’ jobs much easier.
When you’re standing or sitting at work for long periods of time, there’s nothing worse than sore legs and feet. Every year, two million sick days are lost to lower limb disorders. Ergonomic injuries come at a high cost. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, $1 of every $3 spent on workers’ compensation comes from insufficient ergonomic protection. It’s clear that taking steps to prevent these injuries is well worth it.
Electrical equipment is only as effective as it is protected. Whether you’re indoors, outdoors, exposed to water, or facing harsh weather conditions, electrical equipment needs to be protected by an enclosure. Choosing the right electrical enclosure requires some knowledge of electrical standards. Ratings from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) provide guidance on what level of protection your enclosure needs depending on the environmental factors it is subjected to.
Slips, trips and falls are some of the most preventable workplace accidents, yet the numbers don’t seem to prove it. Second only to motor vehicles, incidents related to slips, trips and falls account for 15 percent of accidental deaths. They can also cost an employer an average of tens of thousands of dollars per incident.
Did you know that four million workers go to work each day in damaging noise? In just one year, 23,000 cases were reported of occupational hearing loss that was great enough to cause hearing impairment. And these are only the cases that were reported! From these statistics, it’s clear that we’re not doing enough to prevent hearing loss at work. Employers give earplugs and earmuffs to employees, but getting employees to wear them when they need to is another story altogether.