By Grainger Editorial Staff 4/25/19
Between people and equipment, plenty is invested in every jobsite. Managing the team and inventory across multiple jobsites, plans, and timetables can become a critical challenge. With sites in different phases, each demanding different products and equipment, the challenges only increase. Small delays and missing product can frustrate the team and slow down progress, and in the worst cases, shut down construction.
Managing people and products at scale requires a diligent, facility-wide approach to inventory. With a strong plan for which sites need what equipment and vehicles, alongside the right tools to order and automate inventory, you can ensure that the right work gets done on time.
Multiple jobsites require juggling teams and inventory across projects at all stages. People, products, and vehicles all need to arrive at the right times, preventing shutdowns and roadblocks that cost money.
Inventory includes all of the equipment needed to get the job done, from building materials to tools and vehicles. These resources need to arrive on site at the right times to continue work, but overstock and understock frequently occur at scale.
Fleet vehicles and the staff who maintain them can be particularly hard to track. Often your most expensive investments, fleet vehicles face challenges that other products do not. Fleet vehicles can have personal use, with employees driving them home after the workday. Specialized equipment—loaders, dump trucks, and tractors included—can be highly in demand across multiple jobsites and expensive to misplace. Delays in one site with specialized vehicles can cause a domino effect of delays across all sites, costing money and time while jeopardizing the job.
Outside of the central store, each site needs its own inventory. Tool cribs may store the most common items for the team, but the right fresh inventory and specialized equipment will need to arrive constantly. Once on site, this equipment is easy to misplace or mismanage, lost on the inventory sheet.
This mismanagement leads to overstock and understock for more than just one site. Without a system in place to ensure the right inventory reaches the right site just in time, shortages and delays are bound to happen. The same situation can lead to overstocks of other products that sit on the shelf, contributing to the estimated $12 billion in overstocked inventory each year.
Keeping track of inventory before the job is the easiest way to know what tools are in and out of stock across sites and stores. How do you track equipment in a company with multiple sites? Both crib checklists and a larger inventory management system can make a big difference.
A tool inventory checklist at your crib can help keep track of equipment on site. While your overall inventory tracking process can manage what products are needed, these shorter tool checklists help your crews find equipment and know what needs to be replaced. Team members can sign out key equipment to keep track of in-demand items, and management can easily track what might be missing.
Another solution is to implement a robust inventory management system with tools to track how you manage and order products. A basic inventory management system includes at least a system to shop, order, and manage inventory, a checklist or automatic tool for tracking product, and tools like central closets or on-site cribs. The goal is the same as today: get product and equipment in your team’s hands just in time and keep track of who took what equipment. With one inventory process controlling operations, central and on site tool cribs stay stocked with exactly the right products for any stage.
Getting people and vehicles to sites on time requires a similar approach to inventory and modern technology to automate the process. Like any other products, fleet vehicles can be tracked as inventory, with information on when a vehicle is in use and what resources it requires. Specialized vehicles and their operators need special attention, since not all workers can man each vehicle.
Automated tools to keep track of fleet vehicles can help. GPS and tracking tools monitor fleet vehicles at all times, allowing central facilities teams to know exactly where equipment is.
Vehicles and equipment also face a unique inventory challenge: maintenance. A robust and well-communicated maintenance plan includes clear responsibilities and ownership, a calendar of routine maintenance, and the right inventory for repairs. Your maintenance plan should also be reviewed regularly to find areas of improvement or overlooked steps. Working vehicles and equipment reliably arrive on site, preventing many unexpected roadblocks.
The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.