Jan 4, 2017 |  Construction


Contractors: Avoid These Material Management Roadblocks


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.

Material Merry-Go-Round

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 Goods

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. 

Material Handling/Rehandling

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.

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