Smart On-Site Logistics
Efficient handling of materials — from delivery to unloading, storage, and on-site movement — is critical to a properly functioning construction site. There are also financial and safety benefits to having a well-thought-out materials handling program.
A systematic approach to handling materials on a job site can reduce labor costs, help keep projects on schedule, improve work quality, and provide a safer workplace. Key goals should be to minimize the number of times materials are handled and reduce the amount of time they are stored on site.
Develop Detailed Delivery Schedules
The just-in-time delivery system in many auto plants is designed to bring materials into the factory just as they are about to be used. Your goal should be similar. Coordinate with suppliers and subcontractors to develop precise delivery schedules. Materials should arrive on the site in the sequence they are to be used.
Make sure subcontractors and suppliers understand you won’t permit storage of materials for any length of time where work is being done. By eliminating stockpiles of materials and equipment on site, you’ll improve work flow and help schedules stay on track. In addition, you enhance on-site safety since there are fewer hazards employees have to work around.
Set Up a Common Checkpoint/Entrance
On large jobs, you need a single checkpoint operated by an individual who is responsible for all access to the site. That individual can also ensure that all materials delivered to the site are scheduled for arrival that day and time. Materials should be properly labeled, and the work areas where the materials are to be used should be clearly identified.
Coordinate Hoist- and Crane-use Schedules
Be sure to carefully schedule the use of hoisting equipment to unload and position materials. You have to be rigorous with the time you allot to each delivery. If a delivery doesn’t reach your site as scheduled, the late delivery will probably have to wait until other scheduled hoist activities are completed.
Allot Specific Times for Each Stage of Work
All subcontractors working on a project have to agree up front that they will have the required number of craftsmen and tools/equipment available at a scheduled time to complete their part of the project. When their part of the project is completed, the subcontractors must agree to leave their area cleared of all debris and ready for the next crew and stage of the project.
Getting materials handling right is a profit issue. It requires time and effort on your part and the cooperation of those who work with you, but it can help add to your bottom line in the long run.
A systematic approach to handling materials on a job site can reduce labor costs, help keep projects on schedule, improve work quality, and provide a safer workplace.