Supply Chain School

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Logistics can have different meanings depending upon who you talk to.  Logistics in the School context is having the right thing, in the right place, at just the right time and at the lowest total cost.

Logistics is a specialised part of the supply chain management process with specific processes and responsibilities. Logistics focuses on the physical transportation and storage of goods, including fleet and freight management, warehousing and carrier coordination. 

Construction plans need to be capable of responding quickly to external factors.  However, we often have to work with inflexible supply chains.  For example, roof installation material may already be en-route when a snow-storm delays installation by a week; what do you do with the roofing when it arrives?  Or if a lorry is delayed in congestion; what do installers do while they wait?

Indeed it is estimated that over 10% of a site worker’s time is typically spent waiting for materials.  However, carrying too many materials also carries costs.  In addition poor logistics can reduce a project’s image, reduce work quality (due to frequent interruptions), and increase a project’s duration. Health and safety hazards are also increased by storing and moving all the excess material on a site.

Coordination and communication between the supply chain and construction process is clearly essential, but far too often this results in either too many or too few materials. Getting the balance right is the art of good logistics.

The benefits of efficient and reliable logistics will be the right things in the right place, at the right time, and at lowest total cost to the business.  Worker safety will be improved, end clients and customers will be happier, and more business opportunities should arise!

Key terms: Bills of Materials or BOM, Sales, Inventory and Operations Planning or SIOP, Just in Time Delivery or JIT, Construction Logistics Plan, Plan for Every Part or PFEP, vendor-managed-inventory or VMI, Pull-flow and Push, RFID, Co-efficient of Variation or CoV.