An inventory management software system is key to the success of any construction project. A single mistake can have undesirable consequences. Construction managers will have to juggle the moving parts with multiple job locations and different types of equipment and materials.
If you’re a construction manager, you should be responsible for all the project details, including maintaining the inventory. When you’re out of stock, you’ll know it. After all, up to 60% of all construction expenses come from the materials. That means if you successfully manage the materials, then you can avoid out-of-control costs and job delays.
There are several areas where people commit mistakes while doing inventory management. Understanding these problems can help you take the necessary actions.
Common inventory management mistakes and how an inventory management software system can prevent them
Not checking the orders
While it isn’t the construction manager’s responsibility to place orders, you need to double-check and confirm that this part of the job is completed. With the help of an inventory management software system, you’ll be able to track the order placement, delivery times, and backorders. Obtaining this information will help you prevent any forgotten orders.
Failure to check the delivery dates
Incorrect delivery counts can result in major shortages. Even if you already have expected delivery dates, you still have to check the delivery dates. Confirm that each item on the list has been received or tagged as a backorder. Thankfully, you can do this easily by pulling up the delivery dates in the software system.
Not knowing where to find the items
One of the biggest mistakes one can make in the construction industry is not knowing where to find the exact storage location. It can be such a hassle to check every spot you can think of and still end up with nothing. One of the contributors to this problem is when moving the inventory from one site to another.
Your construction inventory system should indicate the item locations, so it will be easier to find the items whenever you need them. Without this feature, you may end up with inventory shortages and wrong job costs.
Ignoring damaged materials
Improper installation can damage construction materials and equipment. As the construction manager, you will need to keep track of these inventory losses as you track inventory transfers. Because of this, your software system should provide you the ability to record items as damaged. Once you’ve tagged them as damaged, you can then order replacements as necessary.
Features of an effective construction inventory management software system
A lot of construction managers today rely on inventory management software as the rate of new construction sites continues to rise. If you’re looking for a software system to manage your inventory more effectively, it should have the following capabilities:
Resource tracking feature
Data is the core of any business today, and the rise of new construction management systems has made it easier for business owners to make smarter decisions. Tracking and allocating inventory precisely is one of the best features your inventory management software should have. This feature allows construction managers to have an overview of the entire project to make better decisions.
Quick and easy purchase order solutions
You’ll always need new materials and new equipment. You’ll also need additional supplies. However, sending each request via your home office and checking if they line up with all the other business aspects is time-consuming. For this reason, you need a software system that provides a purchase order solution. More importantly, it has to be interconnected with the other aspects of your construction inventory management. We’re talking about your accounts payable, equipment, materials, work orders, maintenance, time, labor, and documents.
Choose a software system that uses cloud technology. Doing this will help you be effective in managing your purchasing and inventory needs. You can keep your project on time wherever you go!
Document management feature
Of course, you’ll need to access and manage documents on the go. This feature is necessary, especially if you want the project images and documents to be accessible wherever and whenever someone needs them. As a construction manager, never overlook this feature.
A few examples of these documents include contracts, purchase orders, work orders, submittals, job site pictures, and RFIs. These are documents you will need to make big decisions. This feature can come in handy, especially if you have to make real-time decisions. All you need to do is to pull up the necessary documents. Ultimately, it takes you one step closer to achieving better inventory management.
Overall work management
Reality check: every construction project involves risks, including the following:
- Faulty or unreliable materials
- Unexpected increases in equipment costs
- Fluctuating deadlines
- Labor shortages
To help you manage your construction inventory effectively, you need to control the workflow, time, and budget associated with that inventory. It isn’t just all about managing the inventory.
This feature is what makes inventory software systems beautiful. You don’t only manage the materials and the inventory. You also manage your project’s workflow – budget, time, progress, and most importantly, the job costs. You also get to maintain project logs, change orders, and more! This feature is an effective step that allows you to meet the project deadline and budget.
Shopping for a construction inventory management software system
Choosing an inventory management software system for your project isn’t that simple. That’s why I’ve come up with a list you can refer to before making a decision. The system should allow you to perform the following:
- Access necessary documents
- Associate inventory with a project phase
- Generate purchase orders wherever and whenever you need them
- Make real-time decisions
- Manage accounts payable, equipment maintenance, work orders, time, labor, and documents
- Manage overall workflow
- Track every piece of inventory, regardless of its location
You can easily find a lot of inventory management systems for construction companies these days. However, not all systems are the same. Hopefully, I was able to broaden your knowledge on inventory management to avoid common mistakes other construction managers do.