The unpredictability of the construction industry has made the management of equipment, tools, parts, and supplies a very challenging task. Having real-time access to the right equipment, tools, and other resources in a timely manner is a crucial issue that most construction professionals constantly deal with, significantly affecting a project’s development. It’s also concerning to discover that some construction companies today are still using outmoded systems for inventory and it’s already 2021! Unfortunately, an outdated inventory system can waste so much of their physical resources.
So how you are able to manage your construction tools and equipment is one primary reason that contributes to the increasing productivity of your construction company. In fact, the equipment and tools your company owns are a significant investment. This is why it makes sense that you have to make considerable efforts to manage and track them more productively and cost-effectively.
Read further to discover ten practical tips on how you can improve your construction inventory management.
Inventory Commonly Used by Construction Firms
Let’s take a look first at the typical inventory used in the construction sites. In simplest terms, most construction companies established physical structures for a particular price by following designs and plans provided by both engineers and architects. Therefore, construction firms aren’t in trading goods, yet they need to stockpile all raw materials that go directly towards finished products typically used to construct a building.
Creating and pouring concrete slabs into iron reinforcing bars is one common example. Hence, things in the construction site inventory are more likely to be the following:
- Bags of cement
- Boxes of tiles
- Boxes of nuts and bolts
- Sheets of drywall
- Lengths of pipes, bars, wood, and so on
Construction projects often require ready stock for all sorts of materials needed. Moreover, multiple raw materials are necessary for several items, like mixing concrete, for instance, so that it can easily be poured. Others items such as bolts and nuts are also typically used on the spot. Only specialized inventory management software like Pro Crew Schedule has a powerful product management feature that can take care of all product details for you and your team.
How Can You Improve Your Construction Inventory Management?
Again, your equipment, tools, and entire inventory are critical parts of your construction business. If you follow the tips below, you’ll not only achieve more efficient inventory management but also improved construction productivity, impacting your construction business in a significant manner.
1. Know everything you own
Do you know exactly all equipment and tools in your inventory? You might already have an idea, but you’re not expecting how high the combined value of your entire supporting equipment. Hence, you have to do a quick but comprehensive overview. If your list is static or a year or more old, it’s worth less than the paper, it’s printed on.
Your construction inventory list must be:
- Complete – include all of the company’s assets
- Accurate – provide enough information, including location, value, capabilities, and more.
- Up-to-date – always reflect on the changing inventory.
2. Track how it’s used
Once you already know your company’s resources, the next step is determining how each equipment or tool is used. Several questions should be outlined, and you must able to answer every question relating to each piece of tool or equipment in your company’s inventory:
- How often is this equipment used?
- Who are the crew members who use it?
- When and where is the equipment used?
Once all these questions are answered and you finally gathered all the details you need, you can now make informed decisions about the present and future inventory management strategy. It is the right time to begin making improvements.
3. Right assert, right time, right place
For instance, if you have multiple locations, how can you divide your assets between these locations? An equal division may sound logical, but it cannot be compelling enough since the demand for construction equipment is unlikely to be the same everywhere.
With up-to-date and accurate data, you can deploy your assets where they are most likely needed. But why equipment and tool gathering often dust in one place whenever there’s a shortage elsewhere? Apparently, supply and demand fluctuate over time as well. That is why offering some discounts may let you make extra money, especially on items that aren’t going to be used anymore. Perhaps, you can rent additional construction equipment yourself to bridge short periods of increased demands.
4. Fix things before they break
Ask yourself the following questions. Would you rather:
- Spend at least one hour a week ensuring that construction equipment is in a safer place and is in great shape
- Spend a day each month repairing and fixing any construction equipment that has been slightly damaged or broken down.
Even tracking at the time spent on maintenance is a crucial action. And while construction equipment seems to get damaged at any worst time, you may plan and schedule your maintenance ahead of time. Note that construction equipment and tools used all the time are more valuable to your business operations than less used equipment.
Plan maintenance based upon the needs instead of a fixed schedule to make optimal use of your time.
5. Find underlying issues
If a critical piece of construction equipment is damaged once, it’s an annoyance. If it breaks down many times, make use of the data you gathered in this piece of equipment. Look for trends so you can find any underlying issues instead of overlooking such matters.
These breakdowns are probably caused by a construction worker who didn’t get proper training by any chance. One of your crews might be using the equipment the wrong way. If this is the case, replacing the equipment will never solve the problem. Instead, it’ll will cost you additional expenses in the long run.
6. Don’t spend more, spend smarter
One way to ensure that the right construction equipment is available at a particular time is to purchase more of everything. However, it is proven to be inherently wasteful since some extra construction equipment may be put to good use, whilst the rest hid in storage.
Fortunately, it is easy to avoid waste based upon the information gathered in the previous steps. You need to prioritize your spending on any equipment that is used and control that spending.
7. Buy the best equipment
Inevitably construction equipment needs to be either upgraded or replaced. But with the information you have gathered in each piece of equipment, you can make informed decisions. In addition, you can spend your money smarter.
- Which construction equipment is most likely to used?
- Which brands cause the most recurring issues?
- Which of the construction equipment costs you more money and time when it slowly becomes non-functional?
8. Manage Maintenance Activities
If you wanted to ensure that your construction tools and equipment are all in good working condition, you must carry out all the necessary calibrations and maintenance. Machinery and tools are primarily and heavily used; thus, they often need regular maintenance. You have to watch how often every piece of equipment is being used and how much every associate part costs.
That is why you need web-based inventory software that allows you to plan for future downtimes, schedule any upcoming maintenance activities, and keep logs of construction equipment usage. If you’re team is using and dealing with heavy machinery, you must also read about the power off-brake.
9. Manage custodianship and make reservations
As soon as your team finally completes a project, you’ll have to refocus and complete process documentation to make sure that upcoming, similar projects will be successful as well. That is why you need to gather tangible information on your tool’s usage, including where it is, who used it, what condition it’s in. It will not just help you make better decisions; it will streamline the workflow of your project and determine bottlenecks.
For instance, if you know what items are actively used and which ones are less likely used, you can keep your company from splurging or renting unnecessary items. That is why check-in and check-out reservations are essential since these methods can integrate with construction workflows. They also provide valuable info to the supervisors in the form of actionable reports.
10. Use the best construction inventory management software
You can, of course, keep track of all of the information using pen and paper to know who’s using this gear or tool. Even spreadsheets are one of the options, yet these two options have drawbacks and no longer applicable this 2021! If you wanted a smooth and efficient way of managing inventory, a user-friendly inventory management system is the top solution for your business. It can automate tons of background work, allowing you to prioritize things that are way more important.
Pro Crew Schedule has an inventory feature enabling you to visually track all of your construction equipment, tools and even supplies. Such a system allows you to see which worker has certain pieces of equipment or tools, deliver instant reports and give you complete details of an item. Pro Crew Schedule has an inventory feature designed both for inventory and project management purposes.
- Time-tracking feature
- Centralized inventory control
- Resource allocation and material management
- Real-time team collaboration
- Project management for construction
- Project tracking and scheduling
- Effective task delegation
- Easier integration of new crew members
- Document sharing and control
- Accessible anytime and anywhere
- User-friendly and easy to explore
- Cloud-based storage
Get started with Pro Crew Schedule today. Enjoy your 30-day FREE Trial!