What Are the Advantages of a Construction Inventory System?

Published on March 14, 2020

If your company handles multiple projects around the city, then you should already be familiar with equipment and inventory systems. The construction industry is so unpredictable that it has made the management of equipment and parts a very difficult task. Access to the equipment or parts in a timely manner affect work schedules and customer service. Scheduling the use of the equipment can be very complicated, especially if there’s a significant distance between projects, or if the projects need many of the same tools. And you can manage these activities using a construction inventory system

What are the advantages of an inventory system? 

1.Managing smaller items. Smaller consumable items like drill bits, nuts, bolts, etc. can be hard to track and manage. While they can be expendable in the long run, they can lead to untracked losses if you don’t manage them properly. You need to know of the inventory shortages and item tracking and returns if you’re working on larger projects with different teams. 

An efficient inventory system will not only alert you if your inventory is low, but it will also make it easy and quick for you to keep your project schedule on track.  

2. Project milestones. Coordination and time-scheduling on construction projects aren’t just a matter of reputation, but they can be crucial to your system, such as concrete laying, earthing, and other services. If you have an inventory system in place, then this ensures that your technician and tools are available on time and in the right place. If you don’t manage schedules properly, then it will negatively impact the budgets for labor and the overall project budgets. Mismanaged projects can only cut into your company’s profit and reputation, but they can also negatively affect the schedules and your workers. 

3. Increases accuracy and remote management while reducing paperwork. For large construction companies, maintaining the accuracy of data and records can be difficult. As teams adopt more technology, it wouldn’t be practical to keep stocks and inventory in paper formats. You’ll need immediate central updating of the inventory when shuffling equipment and machinery between projects. 

In case there are emergencies, knowledge of the availability of tools at other sites can help supplement any hiccups on a particular project. Reducing manual entry can also increase the accuracy to focus on meeting deadlines. 

4. Automated scheduling of preventive maintenance. Inventory systems are important when it comes to planning and scheduling preventive maintenance. Having preventive maintenance management and compliance system will ensure that the tasks are completed on time, as dictated by safety authorities. Your company can also automate the scheduling of tools and equipment to reduce employee workloads. 

Technology and the need for an inventory system 

Currently, more construction managers rely on cloud-based construction management systems for effective inventory management. Depending on the size of your company, you can use an application to allow for efficient management of your inventory. If you have a well-organized inventory system in place, you’ll know where everything is, whether they’re in the warehouse or out in the field. Cloud-based warehouse inventory management systems reduce the risks of slow customer service and provide companies with instant data to inform technicians and teams. 

Everything is made easier now, thanks to the continuous advancement of technology. But how do you ensure that you’re using the best inventory system for your construction company? 

The features of an effective construction inventory system 

If you’re looking for a construction inventory management system that allows you to manage your materials and inventory, be sure to have the following features: 

  1. Simple document management. Document management may seem easy, but as your company grows and projects become more complicated, a fully-integrated document management system will be useful. This means that all of your images or documents associated with a project are accessible whenever and wherever your people need them. Such documentation includes purchase orders, work orders, contracts, submittals, RFIs, job site photos, etc. 
  2. Resource tracking and allocation. Thanks to the improved integration of technologies in different industries, data has become an important aspect of tracking efficiency and business goals for any company. Project managers now have a wide range of tools for more productive workflows. 

For example, new construction management platforms allow precise tracking and allocation of materials, inventory, and assets, and can be associated with a particular phase within a project’s timeline.  With constant iteration and improvement with technology, these new platforms will meet the industry requirements and regulations quicker. 

3. On-the-go purchase order solutions. Whenever you need more materials, new tools or additional supplies, it will take so much time to send each request and then check how they fit with all the other aspects of the project. To help you with this problem, you’ll need a construction inventory management software that will use a purchase order solution that is interconnected with all aspects of your inventory system. This should include work orders, accounts payable, equipment, maintenance, labor, time, materials, and documents. 

4. Overall workflow management. The biggest benefit of using a cloud-based system is that it will integrate into your budget, workflow, and time schedules. Not only will you be able to manage inventory and materials, but you’ll also be able to manage the aspects of the workflow of your project. This may include job costs, completion time, budget, progress, change orders, project logs, and more. 

Every construction project has its own risks, and these include unexpected increases in material costs, labor and talent shortages, unreliable materials, and fluctuating deadlines. Because of these risks, you need an effective inventory management system, so you won’t compromise the completion of your project. 

  1. Feature checklist. You may consider this checklist when you’re choosing an inventory management system: 
  • Make real-time data-driven management 
  • Workflow integration 
  • Upload and access all types of documentation 
  • Access and manage accounts, equipment, maintenance, work orders, documents, materials, labor, and time 
  • Generate purchase orders anywhere 
  • Inventory item and project phase association 

Your company can benefit from a construction inventory system, but choosing the right one is important. When selecting the right management system, consider the ones that can integrate far more than just your equipment. Pay attention to its ability to streamline work processes, improve communication, and overall customer service. 

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