Efficiency on a lighting project is critical to profitability. Contractors seek ways to save time and money — particularly on labor costs — to ensure maximum profitability from every job. While lighting installations come with their own set of challenges, properly managing material can save time and ultimately increase job profitability.
Here are some challenges that lighting installations present and how partnering on a staged-and-stored solution will streamline the process.
A Different Kind of Beast: Lighting Installations
Lighting installations can be especially problematic for contractors for a number of reasons. Most other installations such as wiring devices, conduit and wire don’t have fragile elements that need coordination. The most common lighting installation challenges include:
- Lighting is fragile. Aside from the damage that can cause project delays, time is spent locating and unwrapping lighting components. Packing material also needs to be disposed of and removed from the job site.
- Lighting consists of many components. Multiple components and assemblies consisting of linear lengths, elbows, stems, cords, lenses and baffles must be located and prepared for assembly and installation.
- Lighting shipments require synchronized coordination. Fixtures need to be tracked, received, and delivered when, where, and how they are needed within the job site.
Taking the pain out of lighting installations is possible with the right partner. A contractor’s competitive edge can come from a strategic relationship with his or her distributor. More than 70 percent of contractors who implement at least one material management solution offered by a distributor reported increased savings and improved profitability.
For maximum efficiency and profitability, work with your distributor to follow these five steps of lighting material management. Let your partner manage the material while your team focuses on the actual installation.
Staying aligned on a project requires involvement from the beginning. Conduct a pre-construction meeting between the contractor and the distributor partner to coordinate logistics. A good channel of communication ensures that everything is scheduled to arrive when and where it is needed for installation.
After outlining a logistics plan, the distributor can accept shipments first, receiving material in a controlled environment instead of having delivery go straight to the site. This eliminates multiple (and potentially unscheduled) shipments of material to the jobsite, removing the need for shipment to be processed and checked by contractor personnel.
This method also reduces the risk of defects. Materials are inspected to ensure that there is no obvious damage or shortage.
Once materials are inspected, the distributor reviews the bill of lading. Piece and carton counts are confirmed and verified against the supplier packing slip. After confirming items and quantities, materials are identified and marked by type and install area as requested by the contractor.
Now that material is verified and confirmed, the distributor will repackage the material per the contractor’s specs for delivery to the site. This is managed by project phase. For example, material can be rough or trim. It may also be organized by area, such as by floor, quadrant, unit, or point of installation.
Component assemblies are packaged and labeled into outbound kits. Unnecessary packaging is removed and material is prepped for faster installation on the job.
Lastly, a distributor can create lighting order tracking reports which provide visibility to the complete order down to the line item level. These reports typically include all stages of the order life cycle from submittal through ordered, released, inbound tracking, invoicing, material storage, and release to site.
Project-specific inventory management of types, components, quantities and storage locations are shared with the contractor. This information serves as a sort of virtual warehouse. A project status report and financial reconciliations can also be available on demand to track the entire PO balance.
Why Choose a Staged-and-Stored Solution
Partnering with your distributor and following these five material management steps results in a staged-and-stored lighting solution. A staged-and-stored (also called staged-and-release) solution is an illustrative way of describing material management for lighting. Implementing this kind of solution can build up numerous benefits for a construction contractor, including:
- Maximizing contractor time
- Optimizing logistics
- Eliminating time spent on freight claims
No time is wasted on tasks such as shipment scheduling and acceptance. The distributor verifies orders as they compare to packing slips and actual material received. Logistics are optimized from the first handling of the received materials through delivery to the job site at the designated location and specified time.
By eliminating excess touch points, material movement and the associated risk of damage or loss are mitigated. Back and forth is also reduced. Freight claims for shortage or damage and associated replacements are all coordinated by the distributor.
Lay the Groundwork for Streamlined Installations
Lighting installations are complex for a contractor, but there’s no need to do all the work yourself. Leverage the relationship you have with your distributor to simplify shipments, eliminate defects, and mitigate job site trash. Easier installations are one partnership away.