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August 31, 2021

Materials Management Themes for Contractors

For any contracting business, materials are a vital factor to consider for everything from daily operations to profit margins. The best contracting companies and managers have a specific system for receiving, organizing, and handling materials. Managing this system properly can play a significant role in your profitability and service quality.

At Contractors School, we're proud to assist aspiring contractors and current contractors alike, with services ranging from contractor's license courses and exam prep up through numerous areas of management for your existing business. We've helped clients organize and streamline their materials management systems many times in the past, and we'll provide whatever level of assistance you might need here. Let's take a look at some of the top themes we recommend to those looking to improve materials management for their contracting business.

Utilize Inventory Management Technology

When you're first getting started, take an inventory of your current materials and figure out what items will need to have a higher turnover and replenishment rate. Do you use products that are heavy in material or that are costly? You'll also want to look at the sources of your materials to make sure you're getting the best price for all your supplies.

Inventory management software can help here by providing time-saving inventory reports, allowing you to manage your costs and plan for growth efficiently. You should also install conveyors on shelving units to improve the accessibility and visibility of all of your inventory. This will make it easier for employees (and even yourself) to locate what they might need quickly and easily.

The result is that you're going to be able to execute your materials management system with fewer hiccups, higher service quality, and, ultimately, more profits. You'll also have the benefit of managing all of your inventory transactions in one place, which will help you see all of the big-picture insights that can make your materials management system more effective.

Contact us today for a more in-depth look at how we can help streamline your existing facilities management systems.

Improve Material Transport Efficiency

When managing your materials as a contractor, there are many different ways to streamline your transport process. You'll want to start with making sure that you are only using the best materials carriers for your industry and that they have the proper certifications or licenses to get the job done. For example, if you work within the foodservice industry, you might need a food-grade trucking company to deliver raw ingredients.

You should also think about what type of containers or packaging you will be using. Will it all be delivered in one container? You may decide instead to use multiple types of packaging supplies based on what products need special handling.

Remember that the more efficient your materials transport system is, the less investment you will have to make in terms of overhead, which means that more profit will stay with your business and go towards expanding it as needed.

Organize Raw Materials

Once you have a handle on the inventory management system that can keep up with your current needs, or once you've decided to implement complete materials management software for your business, it's time to organize all of your raw materials.

You may need a particular shelving unit for large items like sheets of plywood or oversized pallets, and you should always be aware of where all of your materials are at all times. Some contractors use colored tags to indicate the pricing levels for different products, while others have certain storage areas for special-order items or samples from clients.

Maintain Past Inventory Records

As a contractor, you may find yourself wondering how to maintain past inventory records for your business. The truth is that there are many different ways to organize these inventory records. You could, for example, keep all of your manufacturing documents and invoices in one folder on your computer. Alternatively, you could keep them in alphabetical order by company name or order based on the frequency of use. These are all good ways to store your records.

What's important is to make sure that you're constantly adding new documents to the folder as they come in so you don't lose them and you have a record of everything that comes into and goes out of your business.

Another thing to remember when maintaining records is that it's not just about the information on a piece of paper. What about the awareness of new product deliveries, returns, or even when you end up throwing out unused products?

Have a Human Double-Check Inventory

While electronic management for inventory is a fantastic way of streamlining processes in materials management, it doesn't completely replace the need for human-reviewed details. One of the best ways to oversee your inventory is to have a person double-check all deliveries that come into your business and count them as they arrive. This extra pair of eyes will help you ensure that everything is accounted for, especially if you are shipping from a central location to different branches across the country or around the world.

For more on managing your materials and inventory as the owner or manager of a contracting business or to learn about any of our contractor exams or other services, speak to the staff at Contractors School today.

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