Successful completion of a project requires many things to fall into place. But out of all the factors involved, it is how well the materials are controlled and how efficient their delivery is throughout the duration of the project, which actually determines how well the project has been executed.
Irrespective of whether the project is as big as the construction of a huge building or as small as the renovation of a house, many types of material need to be supplied and their size and quantity only makes it more difficult to manage.
Different Aspects of Material Management
The success of a material management strategy depends on many factors, such as the system that has been put in place and how efficiently the tasks of controlling, checking and handling material are being carried out.
Depending on the size of the project, a staff member of appropriate strength should be employed to handle the various aspects of material management. By having a workforce dedicated to this task alone, one can ensure that there are no inconsistencies in the material flow of a project.
Let us consider a business that is required to undertake major warehouse operations. Following are some important functions that the business may need to perform:
Upon the development of a project’s blueprint, a procurement engineer is assigned the responsibility of identifying the requirement of materials for the project. They are also required to take into account the specific requirements of the employer, the scope of work and the bill of quantities. Once the requirement of material has been identified, a proposal is drafted by the procurement engineer and this proposal is forwarded to the material manager.
Approval of Material
The material engineer, upon receiving the proposal, prepares the material approval request. This request is raised to evaluate whether the material which has been proposed to be procured matches with the specific requirements. When this request is raised, the consultant has four options. Following are the actions that a consultant can take upon receiving the request:
- Approve the material
- Approve the material with conditions
- Ask for the request to be revised and resubmitted
- Disapprove the request
Before any action is taken, the material is compared against the specification. If the request gets approved, the document is forwarded to the department responsible for handling the project related paperwork. This department is usually headed by the CSC or engineer of the project.
In all of these steps, it is vital that all paperwork is correctly stored and looked after. Losing essential paperwork or having to restart the process due to damage to paperwork will only slow down the entire project. Therefore, investing in a reliable storage solution is important for the best delivery performance.
Once the necessary approvals have been obtained for the material requirement, procurement department is asked to contact the shortlisted suppliers and ensure timely delivery of the material to the site.
The store department is notified about the transaction. The quality department receives communication from the store assigned staff about the upcoming materials and also the schedule of delivery.
Upon delivery of material, the quality engineer along with the storekeeper carry out a thorough inspection of the delivered shipment. If the material is found to comply with the approved material approval request, the storekeeper is handed over the responsibility of storing the material.
The materials that have been received on the site need to be controlled by the storekeeper. The arrival and distribution of materials should be recorded in forms and registers and it is the storekeeper who is responsible for maintaining these records.
One of the biggest responsibilities of the storekeeper is to ensure that the storage conditions are right for the material which is to be stored. The manner in which the material is stored can have a significant impact on the material while it is present at the warehouse. For this reason, it is important to pay careful attention to the storage containers that are being employed for the purpose of storing material.
The storekeeper also needs to be aware of the availability of material. The construction manager or project engineer may place an order for a certain quantity of the material. When such a request is raised, the store keeper needs to verify from the records if the material is available or not. If the material is present in the required quantity, the store keeper needs to issue a material withdrawal slip. This slip is to be signed by the team which is present on-site and has placed an order for the material.
Delivery of Material
Once the withdrawal slip has been signed by the concerned authority, whether it is the construction manager or the project engineer, the store-keeper should make the necessary arrangements for the delivery of material.
Running warehouse operations as given above will ensure that there are no unnecessary difficulties in managing materials. By following the procedure detailed above, one can minimise the delays that often hamper the growth of a warehouse based business.