The Just-in-Time (JIT) inventory method is the inventory model used by the construction sector. Over the years, it has proven to be the best model as it continuously creates a strong foundation for the immediate availability of construction materials and resources at any given job stage.
At the height of the pandemic two years ago, the events changed how the model works as supply chains all broke down, materials became scarce, and operational restrictions were being enforced. This disruption signals that it is time to use a new model and find a new approach to construction inventory. The sector was forced to implement changes at a speedy rate, and other companies even shifted to JIC (just-in-case) inventory to guard against stockouts.
And while these changes continue, how are you coping as a construction business leader? Now, that will be 2023, and your inventory is one of the things you should prioritize. Long-term planning is the key, and in this blog, we will share some expert tips to jump-start your planning.
1. Give yourself a buffer in your overall inventory planning
The JIT approach in inventory which we already mentioned above, has always been at the right place, and it has been effective through the years and has been found to help make the supply chain reliable. However, make sure to keep updated with the latest changes and trends when it comes to this subject.
Before planning your inventory in 2023, ensure you give yourself a clear buffer about the changes you will soon make, the alteration of your inventory approach, and your hopes to streamline your inventory because everyone has done it already, except your business.
This is to have more clarity on your 2023 inventory planning. To have more clarity and accuracy, read the next tip that tackles your inventory practices.
2. Take a closer look at your inventory practices
You can only start your planning successfully if you look at your best practices. Figure out what practices work well for your inventory and which contribute less. When doing an internalization f your inventory practices and policies, we ask you to consider the following key points:
- Does your construction business have the right level of automation in inventory management?
- Are you investing in the right construction management software extensions to streamline your inventory?
- What data have you stored to help you with your inventory-related decisions?
- What steps did you take to lessen costs while maintaining proper inventory levels?
3. Embrace Construction Inventory Management
Fun fact – inventory management was not part of the construction sector’s system. The JIT model only precludes inventory management since materials are expected when purchased. And while it is a convenient practice, JIT has its downsides. One, it hinders detailed workflow, and two, it hinders accurate job costing.
As your construction company is growing and scaling, it will not be your benefit if you keep on depending on third-party suppliers for construction materials via the JIT model. For all such reasons and more, a change of mindset is necessary. The time has already come to change your view on the construction trade. It is no longer a one-stop industry exclusive to construction professionals but an inventory-management-driven sector that can manage a more agile supply chain.
4. Automate your inventory management
Automating inventory management is the key to heightened efficiency and removing time-consuming manual tasks within an inventory-driven sector like construction. Whether your construction business is small-scale or already established, everything is complex and hard to initiate.
The reality that you have to deal with a bulk of construction materials (from raw to prefabricated) while managing multiple job sites can be a nightmare. So, as part of your inventory planning in 2023, make sure to automate every aspect of your inventory – transactions, work orders, purchase orders, tracking storage locations, etc.
Using a streamlined and powerful construction time tracking software is beneficial to achieve a more seamless approach to your inventory. Overall, this affects your bottom line positively, adds more time savings, and delivers higher profit margins for your company.
5. Develop a resilient supply chain rather than an efficient one
As an extension to the tip we discussed above, this step is more about rebalancing the construction supply chain and making it more resilient than efficient, as with JIT. Therefore, it includes securing critical construction materials, building inventory, determining alternative supplies, and, most importantly, investing in the best inventory management software solutions that help you in the overall flow. Having the best resources and tools will strengthen your supply chain and better protect your construction business in times of crisis.
The following tips also reinforce your supply chain. Make sure to implement the following:
- Increase off-site construction by determining vendors that manufacture prefabricated materials
- Automate risk monitoring on your supply chain to boost efficiency and track possible risks.
- Analyze contracts. Before signing in, make sure you take into consideration all areas of possible risks – from environmental concerns to subcontractor policy changes.
- Have clear communication and prioritize it between you and the third parties involved.
6. Bulk up your workforce
Labor shortages are among the most prevalent pain points in the construction sector. And the pandemic that happened over two years ago has placed even more strain on an already vulnerable labor market. So, stepping up your game in this matter is a must-do. Make sure you have enough or more people to do things for your project goals.
Planning efforts for forming your construction workforce include:
- Invest in training: Well-trained construction workers align better with their job roles and expectations. Hence, ensure a regular training routine to promote consistency, which helps you foster a higher level of job satisfaction and security.
- Find alternative sources for labor: Sometimes, it is best to look beyond the usual recruitment methods to prepare against labor shortages. We suggest you ask for referrals within your existing construction workforce or help from agencies, or you can look in search engines.
- Make use of crew scheduling software: If you want a productive and consistent workforce, you need to track them consistently. Only specialized software enables you to efficiently track your crew, including their tasks, labor hours, location, etc.
- Provide consistent, positive feedback: While you manage your crew, know that providing feedback is part of great construction project management. When your people deeply understand their strengths and weaknesses, it helps them improve, becoming a good asset to your construction company.
- Engage in best practices: Following your industry’s best practices helps you with profitability and overall efficiency and enables your business to determine areas for improvement. This helps in enhancing relationships and improving workplace conditions. And most importantly – the morale of your employee.
Let the Planning Begin with Pro Crew Schedule
The many tips we shared above provide great insights and a good starting point when you begin your inventory planning. With a lot going on and unstoppable changes in the industry, plus the many conflicts of handling huge construction projects, it does make great sense to be well-equipped with the best inventory practices and specialized construction management solutions.
Pro Crew Schedule is a construction scheduling software with the best project management and inventory features. This robust inventory platform enables you to track almost anything – from your inventory, crew, materials, expenses, and more. All of its built-in features are designed to meet your specific needs as you deal with many moving parts.
So, if you want to succeed in your 2023 planning, whether for your construction inventory or project management, look no further than Pro Crew Schedule. Here are some of the many benefits you will reap when you decide to deploy this to-tier construction solution:
- Real-time updates: This amazing software provides real-time updates, helping improve overall communication between you and your construction crew.
- Integrations: One of the best features of this software is that it can integrate with over 3000 apps and software, including Google Sheets, MailChimp, and more.
- Cost analysis: You can also achieve efficient budget planning using this software, enabling you to analyze all your expenses and make accurate cost estimates.
- Accountability: As an all-in-one project management solution, this is a central hub where accountability and progress are tracked.
- Establishment of strategy: Whether it is your inventory, crew, or project, you can easily establish a strategy using this advanced software tool. Things become much easier and seamless when incorporated it.
- Cloud-based: With its cloud-based storage, you can access all important files and data anytime and anywhere.
- User-friendly: Even your aging workforce can appreciate this software and will not find it hard to use and explore.
- Budget-friendly: Easily it is one of the most affordable construction solutions in the market today.