Construction logistics is one of the most challenging elements of construction. Not only do the physical and financial aspects of construction place great strains on operations and finances, but also there is the issue of safety and environmental responsibility. As with any construction endeavor, managing construction logistics correctly will ensure that the project delivers on its promises.
Part of the difficulty of construction logistics management is the diversity of the product and material categories in the construction industry. This is made even more complicated by the large number of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, transport companies, and individual operators who are an integral part of the construction industry. When managing this diversity, it is crucial to have an accurate assessment tool that is capable of connecting these entities together into an accurate view of the entire supply chain. To do this, many construction logistics managers turn to a construction logistics management software program. Some of the programs available are designed specifically for the construction industry and allow construction managers to not only manage their companies’ warehouses and transportation needs, but also integrate the functions of vendors, brokers, and other supply-chain participants. With this integration, the manager can better understand each participant in the supply chain, which improves overall productivity and profitability.
A construction logistics management system is only as good as the information it is based upon. By creating a good logistics framework for the construction industry, the project manager can ensure that all facets of the project’s logistical functions are included. These frameworks include supplier and procurer consolidation centers, material transport facilities, and a wide variety of shipping containers, including flexible shipping containers and special purpose ones. Depending upon the type of project and the specific needs of the construction logistics provider, some software programs may even allow the manager to interface directly with the vendor’s or broker’s personnel as needed.
One of the most useful aspects of good logistics management is its ability to streamline the material handling processes across the whole enterprise. A logistics management software program is typically designed to allow companies to receive real-time updates about their deliveries, which eliminates the need for the materials handling department to manually send out reminders, track shipments, or perform additional functions. Likewise, these programs often create or delegate work that may be better suited to other departments or to other personnel within the construction firm. This streamlined approach can reduce costs and improve efficiency. For example, some construction logistics management programs integrate directly with the vendor’s material handling equipment, eliminating the need to rent or purchase additional trucks or machinery to accommodate the new delivery.