The wheels of complex construction projects can quickly fall off if you don’t have the proper plan in place – resulting in costly delays. From complicated procurement cycles, material management, and project schedules, there are plenty of moving parts that could jeopardize finishing the job on schedule.
Luckily, with digital and self-service options it’s possible to streamline processes, increase supply chain visibility, and improve the management of project timetables, even in the most complex scenarios.
While there are many digital solutions available, there are three key areas for improving processes within complex construction projects.
1. Streamline Procurement Activities
The procurement process has a number of steps from start to finish. From the initial needs assessment to budgeting and creating purchase orders, through receipt of invoicing and final payment. The full procurement cycle can take weeks to months to fully complete – possibly longer depending on the complexity of the project. But, in today’s connected world, there are a number of digital resources available to help improve and streamline the procurement process for even the most complex construction projects.
Utilize Data Intelligence to Enable Better Sourcing Decisions
To ensure that you’re receiving the most accurate information, a historical transactional review is completed to identify material usage and spending history.
Dashboards can provide you with important purchasing information and help identify areas of waste in your current process. From these dashboards you’ll have clear visibility into where products are purchased from, how much product is purchased, where the products are used, and more. This visibility will allow you to improve budgeting and reduce waste in your procurement process.
Knowing exactly where and how you are spending your money can shine the light on how new solutions can foster improvements.
Streamline Orders to Reduce Waste in Your Procurement Process
As you review the analytics from your transactional process review, it’s likely that many areas of improvement will come to light and will highlight steps in your current procurement process that can be changed or eliminated to impact profitability. Even small measures can make a big difference when it comes to reducing costs and simplifying your process.
A few common opportunities include:
- Utilize digital/self-service options (i.e. EDI procurement integration, use of eCommerce, etc.)
- Consolidate product purchasing to fewer suppliers for better pricing options
- Combine commonly purchased items to reduce purchase orders and invoices
2. Digital Tracking to Improve Onsite Material Management
Having the ability to analyze and track materials as they are from order to installation plays a big role in staying on schedule. Making sure materials are where they are needed, when they are needed, is a critical component of a successful job. Having the ability to digitally track materials and schedules makes your job easier.
Digitally Tracking Material Management
As materials move on and off your job site, or in and out of your facility, it may seem daunting to find a way to track every single transaction that takes place – but with digital technology, it’s easier than you think. Through various digital tracking and analysis methods, it’s possible to track material status and deliver reports and dashboards that highlight the data that’s most important to you.
Depending on your job site requirements, there’s a way to track and manage inventory levels through a variety of supply chain solutions such as bar codes, secure storage space, and weighted bins.
Through various digital tracking and analysis methods, it’s possible to track material status and deliver reports and dashboards that highlight the data that’s most important to you.
Technology is available to track your products with bar codes that are automatically connected to a central app. The app scans materials in and out of the secure storage area, tracking who is using materials and automatically updating inventory levels. This data is then connected to a remote dashboard that provides analytics and can assist in reordering materials.
Implementing a store solution provides a secure cabinet based storage area on site. Materials are stored and tracked as items are checked in and out to manage inventory. If a project calls for more storage, a larger storage option can be put in place. Digital tracking of materials allows for automatic reordering and remote inventory management.
Weighted bins play a similar role in material management, but instead of tracking inventory individually, it tracks material weight. The bins are programmed to learn when the weight of the bin hits a certain number and then triggers a reorder.
3. Project Planning and Schedule Management
When looking for digital solutions to help manage project planning and schedule management, Remote Project Management (RPM) is an option for complex construction jobs. RPM provides complete visibility for customers through an online portal. This means you can see every detail of your project in real time such as, what has been ordered, released, billed, where it was billed, where it’s being stored, how much product is on a pallet, and much more.
The Power of Information in Data Exchange
An RPM solution will allow you to leverage the power of information and access the data being exchanged. This means that you have the ability to see all the data related to the project at the click of a button. Having this information readily available helps you ensure the project will stay on schedule and materials are where they should be when they should be.
Simplify Complex Job Schedules
By working collaboratively with suppliers and manufacturers to review project schedules, along with manufacturing lead times to identify potential conflicts early, helps mitigate the risk of missed deadlines. Every detail of the job will be added to the RPM app, allowing for full visibility from project planning and development to completion. This will keep you on schedule and up-to-date on material shipping and storage, you’ll always know exactly where the product is and when it’s arriving.
Define Ownership and Drive Accountability
The collaborative nature of an RPM solution will help sync field and distributor communications about what is needed and when. It will define ownership of each level of the project and drive accountability to those who are responsible for each step. Open communication between all parties will ensure that the right steps are taken to stay on schedule and have materials in the right place at the right time – delivering profitability.
Partnering for Success in a Digital World
Working with a distribution partner is the ideal situation for commercial contractors seeking a digital solution for material management. WESCO is a material logistics expert and can provide digital tracking, analyzing, and transparency that you need to simplify your complex construction projects and increase profitability. From simple projects to the most complex construction jobs, there’s a digital solution to improve efficiencies and profitability.