Logistics is the detailed organization and implementation of a complex operation, and if we take that definition to heart, we will realize that the construction industry is an accurate example of what logistics is all about. Effective supply chain management is imperative in the world of construction, and efficient planning when it comes to the logistics involved can greatly benefit the productivity and effectiveness of the project, as well as significantly reduce the cost of the endeavor. Imagine for a second the nightmare that it would be to have your entire construction crew waiting on materials to arrive. This type of situation would throw a wrench into the entire machinery of the supply chain and result in the loss of resources, time and ultimately prestige and confidence for the organization.
Proper planning in the supply chain is one of the most important aspects when it comes to boosting productivity in construction logistics. Construction projects are divided by stages and that is why contractors need to create a timetable that goes along with those stages well in advance, in order to create a full inventory of resources and materials needed to meet the needs of every step of the way. Effective management of material flow provides the organization with many advantages, such as:
– Considerable reductions in waste since all the materials needed are accounted for and present on site every day. This allows for the crew to have a clear picture of what is needed and how much of it, they have available, so they can focus on their actual work and be more productive.
– Clean and safe work environment. If you have a well executed logistic planning, then you will reduce clutter and unnecessary material lying around. Remember that a tidy site will be your first line of defense against health hazards and work-related accidents.
– On-site logistics also ensure that materials are properly stored and everything that is needed for the stage, in which the construction finds itself, can be easily found. This type of strategy ensures the project gains speed and helps workers increase their efficiency.
Choosing the correct transportation partner is something else that must be carefully considered. Working with a company that is not only reliable when it comes to delivery times but also understands the particular needs of a construction company is of great importance. Saving time sometimes comes from having trucks loaded in such way that the most time sensitive materials can be unloaded first and delivered to where are needed. The construction is an organism that must operate continuously and shouldn’t have to wait on others or have to deal with delays based on items that are held up in transit of still in the back of a truck that wasn’t loaded correctly.
Another intelligent strategy to consider is the implementation of a CCC (construction consolidation center). Construction consolidation centers are places that are usually located at the construction site or in the near proximity and their purpose is to receive shipments as an alternate location in place of the immediate area of operation. Having the resources located at a CCC allows for the use of “just in time” management techniques, so only the necessary materials have to be transported, as they are needed in the actual construction. Logistics managers understand the benefits of this strategy as it allows a better control of the resources when they are being held at a controlled location, and they also maintain the construction site free of clutter and possible hazardous obstacles to the personnel. Experts say that having a CCC reduces site traffic by over 60%, provides better storage for materials thus avoiding waste, removes excess of packaging materials and allows the flow of resources to the construction site to be handled in a more organized manner that favors efficiency. Construction consolidation centers can also work as small logistics headquarters where the planning to timelines takes place and the movement of resources is overseen.
Construction logistics are very challenging, and one of the most daunting aspects of managing these supply chains is the fact that they are so different from one another. It doesn’t matter if you are building bridges because no bridge is the same as another, so it is crucial to look at each project as a separate entity that must be undertaken respecting its own set of rules and guidelines. The one thing that always applies is the understanding of how crucial it is to plan accordingly and to have a preemptive approach to the task. Try to avoid reacting to things as much as possible, but be flexible enough to do it when the occasion asks for it.
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* Featured Image courtesy of Jakob Montrasio at Flickr.com