Five Strategies for Coping with the Rising Cost of Materials

Grace Tatigian

We’ve all been watching the cost of materials increase over the last year, and the price of wood has reached new and nauseating heights. Companies across the country have been looking for ways to offset the cost of lumber and other necessary materials without cutting corners and compromising quality.

The first and most obvious reaction to the price increase is negotiating with suppliers, but that can only bring you so far. And so you have to look elsewhere for solutions. The next thing that comes to mind is the old adage “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” But you can’t use and reuse the same materials you have indefinitely. 

Real change and savings occur when you take a hard look at your business practices and tools to find more efficient and economical ways of running your company.

 

Lean production methodology

Within the past few years, manufacturing and construction industries have embraced a lean production methodology. Developed at Toyota, the goal of the lean methodology is to improve processes and remove waste, both critical factors in reducing cost.

For those who haven’t yet changed their businesses to reflect lean methodology principles, what can you expect from the change? Higher quality of output, increased safety, improved planning, higher customer and employee satisfaction, and greater cost control are just a few benefits. To learn more about lean construction methodology and how to apply it to your business, click here.

 

Raw materials inventory management

When talking about materials and cost, the next thing that comes to mind is the tools used to process the materials in question. But the word “tool” means a lot more than the hardware used to saw, sand, and drill wood. It also means more than design software. It’s important to think about inventory management technology as tools essential to your business.

Using a raw materials inventory management software system helps account for the total cost of the parts in stock but not yet used in production, helping you make more educated purchasing decisions. Investing in software like this can help with planning and forecasting, data-driven management, and costing, all of which impact the bottom line. 

It’s one thing to have a spreadsheet with the basic number of materials on hand, but it’s another to rely on software that calculates the raw material value with weighted average costing, helping you calculate your overall raw materials inventory value. 

To learn more about raw materials inventory management and software solutions, click here.

 

Information modelling

Like the lean methodology, building information modelling (BIM) is the new standard in the industry, so it’s essential to apply this modelling to your business to stay competitive. Many of these solutions are effective planning and communication, and BIM is no different. 

With BIM, if a customer wants to change a design, the software can automatically update the required materials for the change. If used effectively, it can also calculate the difference in material costs in construction associated with the update. Having this information improves the ability to estimate precisely the project materials needed. BIM allows you to plan and communicate effectively, streamlining the time and materials required for the project.

BIM covers every step of the design process, from conceptual design to supply chain to construction, updating the plans as ideas evolve. It allows for comprehensive visualization of aesthetics and data throughout. To learn more about BIM and how it can help your business, click here.

 

Project management software

Having strong project management is a non-negotiable when it comes to any construction or renovation project. With the pandemic and the massive increase of teams having to collaborate remotely, more options than ever exist for accessible project management tools. Relying on emails, scattered memos, and individual to-do lists are things of the past. 

When picking the right project management software for your team, figure out which features are most important for your projects. Is it data security? File sharing? Real-time updates? Responsive app support? Also keep in mind cost, accessibility, and whether the software in question is ideal for the size of your business.

Having the right project management software can streamline workflows, provide accurate data tracking, and allow for better project organization. To learn more about the variety of project management software solutions out there, click here.

 

What’s next?

If you’ve already adopted these strategies, then you know the benefits of staying up-to-date on current best practices and software solutions. Staying on top of what is new and practical, and adapting and updating your business as research and technology evolve, is essential. 

Look into how you can implement these strategies into different areas of your business. Check to see if these techniques are implemented at all points of the construction lifecycle to maximize efficiency.

You also might want to consider if the software you’re currently using is the best tool for the job. Shop around and see if there are other solutions that can get the job done faster or cheaper, because the whole point of engaging in solutions like these is to save time and money. 

To learn more about how to evaluate the efficacy of your current software, click here.

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