Construction Logistics: Building Blocks of Success
October 06, 2022
Construction logistics is a complex network of deliveries and collections that need to follow certain safety and efficiency standards. To ensure timely and accurate delivery of materials from one construction site to another, you need to develop your own construction logistics plan to follow and execute.
In this post, we take a close look at construction logistics. What it is, how to build an efficient construction logistics plan, and what tools you can use to make the most out of your resources.
What is construction logistics?
We start with the definition.
Construction logistics is planning and managing logistical services, vehicles, and the workforce involved in a construction project.
The purpose of construction logistics is to support the procurement and transportation of materials, workers, and other resources required in a construction process.
Construction logistics operates on several levels.
- Planning and transportation of workers.
- Movement of material.
- Maintenance of vehicles and other equipment.
Construction is an industry that requires complex logistics solutions because of the number of contractors involved, as well as the safety requirements, and multiple other regulations to be met and observed, not to mention quality control and business development.
Let's look at some of the key logistical challenges specific to the construction and manufacturing industries.
Challenges of construction logistics
Сonstruction logistics involves high stakes - this is true both for workers' safety and project deadlines which have a direct implication on overall costs and business continuity. Let's see what kind of logistical challenges you need to be prepared for as a construction business.
Planning is the #1 challenge when managing a construction project. Material and transport planning, supply, demand, and procurement, infrastructure, and local access - everything needs to be planned in advance to be delivered on time.
As far as site-to-site logistics is concerned, we're talking about route planning and workforce management, i.e. knowing how many drivers you need and how many hours of service (HOS) you're looking at on any given site and day.
To create an efficient team schedule and ensure continuous transportation service, construction businesses usually hire a transportation manager. This is a dedicated person who is in charge of implementing the construction logistics plan.
Construction logistics is impossible without a transportation management system (TMS). It's used for route planning (including recurring routes), automatically dispatching jobs to drivers, and supporting fleet management.
An effective transportation management system will complement and coordinate with your back-office software.
Resource optimization - material and human - is a huge part of supply chain management, and construction logistics is no exception.
Not all construction projects are created equal, and it's the job of the construction project manager to ensure minimum waste and efficient resource optimization.
For example, no transport resources can be wasted when it comes to cost reduction. Since so many people and vehicles are involved in the supply chain, it's crucial that all working hours are cost-efficient and the job gets done.
To guarantee that all vehicles are used to the maximum capacity and that the materials are transported safely and efficiently, managers use route optimization software.
In addition to planning the fastest and safest routes, a software solution like that will match your vehicles with materials to be transported, as well as the drivers' working hours.
The result: you have control of your mobile workforce and vehicles without spending hours in Excel sheets and Google Maps.
Equipment is a huge part of any construction project. It's a universal thing across the construction industry, which means that every company has to figure out how to manage machinery to minimize the downtime risk and promote safety.
Usually, equipment management, much like fleet management, happens according to a schedule developed within the company depending on the scope of the construction project and quality standards set by regulations and the larger management.
The construction industry is a perfect example of an industry that benefits a lot from vehicle check solutions like Track-POD's. The key thing it helps to ensure is proactive vehicle maintenance in the form of daily safety inspections.
Once the fleet manager has created a vehicle checklist and made it obligatory for drivers to fill in before and/or after every route, the team is equipped to conduct proactive maintenance.
This is an advanced but simple solution that helps cut repair costs and promote safety in the workplace.
Speaking of safety, it's a major concern for any construction manager.
The risk of injury is high; therefore, the health of the workforce is a key priority. In addition to injury risks, there are environmental concerns to be observed.
Depending on the local regulations, safety procedures can be very different. Regardless, a construction logistics plan needs to include safety measures that extend to the entire operation and ensure compliance across the infrastructure.
Vehicle and equipment safety will create a safer working environment. However, there's much more to be done. For example, contactless delivery is an industry standard in logistics.
Contactless operations will always win because they come with reduced costs and no unnecessary contact on-site. Contactless delivery management software helps you upgrade your construction projects to paperless and promote safety while keeping your costs low.
To manage a construction site is to manage people. Managing people requires onboarding and training, and that extends to regulations (environmental, safety, etc.), as well as processes related to materials handling process, services, data processing, etc.
Training on-site is delivered by the manager and usually implies in-person training as a team. Logistics training doesn't have to take tons of time and can be reduced to deploying a comprehensive mobile solution that can be used by your field staff both online and offline.
The tool in question is the Track-POD mobile app for delivery drivers. It's synced with the web dispatcher dashboard to ensure smooth data flow and support instant dispatching, vehicle checks, Proof of Delivery, etc.
Paperless driver apps is also how your drivers can keep in touch with dispatchers, conduct load checks with QR and barcode scanning, and collect delivery confirmation.
Logistics - be it construction site logistics or e-commerce delivery - involves working with contractors and suppliers. The difference is in the complexity of supplier networks: the greater the number of suppliers, the more complex your system becomes.
Supplier management can take tons of time and require substantial involvement from your side, which doesn't always fit your logistics plan.
The good news, managing a supplier network doesn't have to be as hard as building one.
A transport management system like Track-POD offers a neat solution to supplier management. Namely, you can give your suppliers access to the Customer Portal, which is a place for shippers to manage and track the transportation of materials from their side.
By using a platform like that, you can greatly reduce your team's involvement in supplier management and free up time for the on-site process.
Construction logistics plan
A construction logistics plan is a framework of movement meant to support a construction project by building a plan for all traffic that will be happening from site to site.
Depending on the scope of the construction project, the logistics plan may require extensive development or little development. Some of the articles that most construction logistics plans share are the following.
- Site and project scope.
- Safety regulations.
- Industry standards.
- Commercial vehicle routing.
- Equipment maintenance.
- Handling and movement of material.
- Transportation of people.
- Construction schedules and training.
- Supplier management.
This list is incomplete and will vary from project to project. Still, there are points that all construction projects share, and these are the musts in any construction logistics plan.
Build a construction logistics plan with Track-POD
Building a construction logistics plan is impossible without the support of a solid transportation management system.
Track-POD is a cloud-based TMS that provides construction logistics solutions to businesses building commercial property around the world. As a leading provider of last-mile delivery solutions, Track-POD offers GPS tracking, instant dispatching, order analytics, and much more.
Use our best-in-class transportation management software to deliver on time, every time, on every site. To talk about transportation management solutions for your construction company or project, book a free demo and we'll walk you through the solutions that Track-POD can provide for you.