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Last edited 17 Mar 2021
In construction, inventory management is a means by which construction companies and suppliers can keep track of goods and materials, workforce, equipment, plant and so on. This is particularly important when a construction company has multiple projects to manage, as efficient scheduling of resources can be very complicated.
A well-managed inventory can be critical to profitability as delayed, misplaced or lost items can incur avoidable delays and unnecessary costs. A project timeline, planned in advance, with a full inventory including the required materials, labour and equipment is a vital part of the project planning process.
This might also include:
- An inventory of tools, including manufacturer details, instructions and parts requirements.
- A consumable inventory (such as nuts, bolts, screws, nails, drill bits, wire and batteries) with a system that alerts when supplies are low.
- Automatic scheduling of preventative maintenance for tools, plant and equipment, helping to ensure that unnecessary down-time for repairs is avoided.
- An inventory app, downloaded to operatives’ phones.
- Radio-frequency identification (RFID) and barcode solutions.
NB The UN Procurement Practitioner's Handbook, produced by the Interagency Procurement Working Group (IAPWG) in 2006 and updated in 2012 defines inventory as: ‘Any material, component or product that is held for use at a later time.’
The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) Glossary of procurement terms, defines inventory as: ‘The stock of goods, materials or products.’ It defines inventory management as: ‘The process of ensuring the safe and efficient storage and control of stock, including managing demand and movement.’
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