Can tech improve inventory management in construction?< Back to Blog
For retailers, mismanagement of inventory can lead to out of stocks and directly affect the bottom line, but what about the construction industry?
Slip up with the stock control in construction and the result can be a huge amount of wasted time, delayed schedules of work, increased costs (for both materials and labour), a negative impact on the company’s reputation and a reduction in profits.
To be effective, construction companies must have the right tools and materials in the right place at the right time. But, with tools and materials frequently moving in and out of site, keeping track is not so easy.
So, can tech help?
Well, of course it can! Gone are the days of huge ledgers and laborious stock counts. There’s now a range of options in inventory management which are used across industries from wholesale to construction. Currently these options seem to fall into three main categories:
Bar Code Inventory Systems
These systems require some hardware (bar code scanner/ printer) and software that collects and monitors inventory. The more robust systems go much further than stock counts, handling order management and integrating directly with the accounts.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
Using radio waves for communication between a product tag and a reading device, this technology allows businesses to identify and track products/ components with speed and precision. A reader could, for instance, scan and collect data from a whole pallet of products at once.
We live in a word where there’s an App for everything, so it’s no surprise that there are lots of inventory management apps out there. While they may not all offer the same level of functionality as RFID or Bar Code solutions, there are many which have been custom-made for construction, enabling full or partial on-site inventories to be carried out with ease.
How to choose?
While bar code and RFID methods are probably still the best options for large contractors with multiple sites to manage, for smaller construction companies, there is likely to be a mobile app that meets the need and comes with a much cheaper price tag. (In some cases they’re free!)
Software comparison sites like Capterra can be a useful starting point as you can see the top-rated products and read customer reviews. Here’s one example of what’s available in tool management software.
In an industry which is fast-changing, Sheriff is happy to adapt to make use of new technologies/mobile applications – both for operational processes on-site and for back-end procedures in the office. We look forward to the many innovations to come.
* Sheriff Builders Ltd cannot recommend or endorse any specific products in inventory management and would advise anyone seeking hardware, software or mobile solutions to research the market thoroughly and seek professional help where necessary.