We are an industry where machine and computer power enhance the work of the person, in many cases, making the very jobs we undertake possible. Modeling wouldn’t be feasible if not for the computing power of today’s equipment, from Robotic Total Stations (RTS) units to laptops and cranes.
It’s your spouse’s birthday, and you’ve decided that you’ll do a little something for her by baking her a homemade chocolate cake from scratch for the occasion. You gather up the ingredients you need: flour, butter, powdered chocolate, egg– hmm… no eggs in the house. No big deal, you think. You’ll just add more milk and butter ‘cause they’re both yellow and white, like eggs. What harm could happen?
Obviously, that’s not a good idea. Substituting a vital ingredient in the cake recipe is foolish, particularly when you knew your neighbors would likely have given you some, or that eggs were available at the local grocery store. Yeah, you could’ve gotten them, but you wanted to keep your schedule. You knew where the right ingredient was, you simply chose to proceed without getting it. And now you’ve got something, well, less than cake.
In the MEP world, you’re given myriad things to track, and perhaps the most vital thing on the jobsite for the completion of a project properly is having the right materials on-hand when you need them. When the project schedule says you’re installing the electrical panels in a new office building, those panels have to be on site, with the electricians, to complete the job. Not only do you need panels, you’ve got to have the right panels for the job spec. There’s no running to the neighbor’s house to see if they happen to have one (or twenty) 42-circuit, 200 amp panels lying around. And there’s certainly no substituting it out for something less than spec.
Everyone in that supply chain better know where your materials are and when they’ll get to the site to ensure the skilled labor can do their jobs on time, on spec and on budget. The key to that is effective materials management, and it starts with the requisition of correct material from the vendors who will have it in inventory when you’ll need it on the site.
An effective materials management platform lets every stakeholder, from the vendor to the purchasing agent to the project manager know where your order is and when it will be at the site. Like eVolve Materials, the goal of the platform is to keep all parties quickly and easily updated about required material. With a robust materials management platform, foreman on the job site can have confidence that the right parts will be delivered at the right time and installed as scheduled.
In those times when materials cannot be delivered on-time, because of a problem at the supplier, with the fabricator or during transport, getting early notice of that through a materials management platform gives project leaders the opportunity to possibly shuffle schedules earlier in the process, reducing potential downtime and losses.
With so many things to juggle on a project, making sure your team has the materials to efficiently complete their jobs doesn’t have to be an overwhelming job for you if you practice good materials management. In fact, it might even help you avoid getting egg on your face.
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Making the investment in Building Information Modeling (BIM) systems can transform construction operations from the start of any project, leading to more efficient use of time and materials in all phases of the build, including long after the active construction project is completed. Through BIM, savings can be realized for the stakeholders in the project–from the building owner to subcontractors–and the operator of the structure benefits far into the future.
While economic situation brings focus on improving ways to increase efficiency in the workplace, these money-saving ideas should be in place during all times. They are best practices that not only save money, but they also save time and cut down on waste, which critical in these eco-aware times.