Optimize Jobsite Material to Improve Productivity & Cut Costs

The old and famous saying in the industry, “I’d rather look at them than look for them” could not be more wrong now, than at any time in the history of the industry. The last few years in the construction industry have been proven to be challenging to say the least. Gone are construction’s glory days of win the job, pay the field guys, and collect the money with amazing profits.

Planning and prefabrication are just a couple of the buzz words gaining attention in the industry; however they are just the beginning of the bigger picture. The Industrialization of the Construction Industry™ is no longer an idea on the horizon – it is here and already changing the nature of the industry. Many are just now waking up to the realization and are scrambling to adapt to the new business models necessary to survive and remain profitable in the industry.

One of the main cost drivers on every construction project is the misuse of labor’s time.

Everyone has heard the term that “Labor is the riskiest component of all the constriction projects.” Have you asked yourself why that is? It is not the labor that is risky—it is what they do, when, where, and how they do it, which introduces the risk to the project.

One of the main components of labor risk is material handling. According to our studies, over the last twenty years, and as verified by many contractors, over 40 percent of the labor’s time in the field is spent on material handling. Contractors can reduce the labor wastage in material handling by using Integrated Material Logistic Solutions™ (IMLS™) to optimize the material levels on the jobsite, leading to reduced cost and improved productivity. Figure 1 shows a potential outcome of this approach. The IMLS™ is a comprehensive approach to Agile Procurement™, which leads to services and solutions to reducing labor time spent on material handling. Whether or not a vendor partnership is in place, the IMLS™ does require the electrical contractor to integrate their jobsite planning with that of the distributor’s to identify solutions to excessive material handling and ensure they are executed properly.

Jobsite Realities County Hospital: 6 am

The crew arrives at the jobsite, preparing for the day’s work. Coffee procured, donuts eaten, toolboxes unlocked, assignments given. Materials are located, except for the six additional boxes and 20 feet of cable, ordered yesterday. They’ll be on the next delivery truck; they were promised for first delivery.

The first truck of the day arrives. More material arrives, but without a pallet jack. One crew stops to help carry it all to the 6th floor.

The next truck shows up, a different distributor. The general contractor didn’t leave instructions for this truck to have access to a restricted area. The foreman spends 15 minutes trying to locate the project manager. The truck will have to come back tomorrow to try again.

Now the project foreman is on a cell phone with the project manager trying to track down yet another order – where is it? Will it be arriving this morning or not? Our elevator time is at 8:30am. The truck is enroute, but not expected to arrive until 10am. The crew awaits further instructions.

Finally, the truck arrives with its awaited 20 feet of cable and five boxes. The 6th box was backordered, but all six were needed to finish the installation. The five are stashed in storage to wait for the last one. Maybe the distributor will get more in today and someone can go pick it up.

A return is packed and waiting, ready to be picked up. The driver doesn’t have the return authorization paperwork; the crew moves the material back to a safe place to wait until tomorrow.

Next comes a third party shipper with a truck that doesn’t fit inside the fence. The electricians make several trips between the building and the&nb