If you’ve never worked in a purchasing office for a construction company, here’s what it’s like: Someone yells across the room, “I just got a call from the field. They need to increase that order of conduit.” Or someone sends a text with an order (there were faxes back in my day). Maybe they’ll email a spreadsheet with a list of quantities. Then again, a materials requisition might simply be sent from someone’s phone with a picture of their handwritten list – which happens to be on a piece of broken drywall.
If you’re smiling, you’ve probably witnessed one or more of these “requisition” methods. The legacy method for ordering materials hasn’t changed much over the years. Unfortunately, these are costly, inefficient methods that have a high potential for errors. In addition, no matter how it’s sent to the office, this raw data needs to be put into a logical format before quotes are obtained and orders are placed with suppliers. That requires extra work by project managers and/or purchasing departments.
MEP trade contractors continue to suffer from high transactional costs, incorrect and excess materials and the installation delays resulting from the procurement process.
The MEP industry needs a robust solution to handle material ordering initiated predominately in the field by project foremen for these reasons:
- The project manager needs a system to manage large package buys.
- The purchasing department needs a more collaborative way to communicate with field teams and vendors.
- Design modeling has created the need to capture partial bills of materials (BOMs) from the Revit model, add to them and organize them into deliverable kits.
- Fabrication has created the need to split BOMs and route to multiple locations.
- Kitting needs to be simplified.
The development team at eVolve MEP has heard contractor pleas and developed a new solution for materials procurement: eVolve Materials.
In development now, this cloud-based procurement solution uses the power of the BIM model, with input from the field, to create one bill of materials. This materials list can be shared across the organization and include vendor access, so users can leverage accurate, actual information to plan work and install faster.
Materials offers these features to help you better align your teams:
- Move items between project breakdowns. Add, edit and substitute items. Route selected items to the fabrication shop. There’s no duplicative effort.
- Foremen can create unlimited material requisitions and releases from project BOMs and large commodity agreements and submit to purchasing with a single click.
- Releases are tracked, and quantity remaining is always up to date.
- An extensive, customizable, trade-specific item catalog has a powerful item searching tool that also supports write-in items.
- Receiving is handled by entering quantities received using the original requisition and attaching ship tickets using a cell phone camera. Problems with the order can be relayed to the vendor.
- Purchasing receives requisitions from the field in a consistent, organized manner. These can even be forwarded to vendors for quotes.
- User dashboards help your teams track orders, including requisition status, purchase order details, shipping updates, carrier information, and approvals.
- Collaboration and team messaging tools help your teams stay informed.
- When vendors are invited to have access to the system, they can upload quotes and order acknowledgements.
- Order status is updated in real time and available to project teams.
If your project foreman needs to spend less time on non-value-added work and more time on installation and improving productivity, be watching for the release of eVolve Materials around the end of 2020. For more ways to integrate materials management to improve cost and supply chain performance, contact eVolve Materials for an analysis of your needs.