Introduction to Material tracking in Construction

Materials are the foundation of every construction project. They have a touchpoint across the entire process of a construction project, from conceptual planning straight through to the actual build and completion. In other words? Without the right materials you can’t, well, build anything.

That’s why tracking your materials is so important. Extensive planning is involved in managing hundreds, sometimes thousands, of line items across the supply chain — so it’s quite easy to get confused and lose track of its whereabouts. Construction management software that specialises in material tracking exists so you can control the supply and delivery of every material to ensure a successful build.


What is material tracking in construction?

Within the context of construction, ‘material tracking’ is more than just knowing the location of a particular material. 

In addition to its whereabouts, construction managers can also coordinate the progress of materials at every stage in the supply chain — moving it from one area to another, so that the next group of builders can commence their work. This process continues from beginning, middle to end, until the building is complete. 

Material tracking creates supply chain visibility for everyone involved in a construction project, making it one of the best ways to ensure builds are completed on-time and on-budget. That said, external delays or mishaps can happen anytime during a build. Using materials tracking software can help you anticipate them well in advance, giving you ample lead time to create a Plan B.

What are the benefits of material tracking?

There are many great tools out there that help you build better, together. But why should you care about a construction management software that specialises in materials tracking. Here are a few reasons why materials tracking software should be an essential part of your toolkit when building.

Create supply chain transparency

Material tracking software enables end-to-end supply chain visibility for construction teams. Through visibility comes clarity and clear communication, allowing every stakeholder to be on the same page. 

With supply chain transparency, there are no surprises like unexpected delays or materials that don’t meet quality standards. You’ll have all of the essential information right in front of you, allowing you to plan ahead, communicate to your team clearly and continue an efficient building process. Simply put, supply chain transparency makes communicating to other stakeholders much easier and efficient, giving you time back for more important tasks like actually building!


Reduce risks in a construction project

With so many materials and stakeholders in one construction project, the level of risks happening are very high. From materials getting lost in the supply chain, materials arriving on-site but are defective and therefore can’t be used, to accidental double-ups and more — the list really does go on.

A good material tracking software should not only show the material’s location, but also have detailed other important information like its current quality (and whether it meets standards) and proposed arrival time. Realistically, you can’t completely eliminate risks in a construction project. Life happens, and sometimes, unexpected things just happen.

However, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of risks happening by anticipating it in advance, and planning accordingly. This enables you to continue working to schedule for a successful build that’s completed on-time and on-budget, keeping your clients happy.


Avoid the blame game

In every construction project, there are several companies working together to complete the build. As such, collaboration is key. 

A lack of collaboration and communication between stakeholders will only lead to disarray, conflict or delays. And because materials are essential across every stage of the supply chain, if one item gets lost or is delayed, typically the game of ‘whodunit’ occurs. Construction managers will need to waste time retracing steps, interviewing team members and essentially playing detectives to find out who is at fault.

Using a materials tracking software helps to prevent this situation from occurring in the first place. As mentioned previously, tracking your materials and its journey across the supply chain enables end-to-end visibility and transparency, preventing the need to retrace steps. Instead of creating conflict, materials tracking software optimises collaboration and teamwork. 

Meanwhile, a materials tracking software also provides proof of work, protecting you and your team from the blame game. So if head contractors or clients are trying to discover who is at fault, you can stay rest assured that your reputation is positively intact.


Who does material tracking benefit?

Tracking your materials in a construction project benefits everyone in the supply chain. That said, it can benefit certain stakeholders in different ways. Below are a few examples:


Materials tracking for Head Contractors

Increased visibility helps head contractors avoid confusion by having a single source of truth to refer to. This improves their coordination of trades and makes direct procurement easier.

Best of all, they can maximise profits by minimising unexpected delays and staying on schedule, allowing them to complete builds quicker (without compromising quality) so they can win more future work.


Materials tracking for Manufacturers

Materials tracking helps manufacturers reduce risk and demonstrate the quality of their work in a construction project. Moreover, tracking materials allows them to easily manage their upstream and downstream supply chain, allowing them more lead time should actions like re-orders occur.


Materials tracking for Installers

Installers are needed for ensuring materials are placed and installed into the right areas. Tracking materials helps them save time and costs because they can easily find materials on-site, allowing them to complete their installations efficiently.


Materials tracking for Suppliers

Suppliers are responsible for sending out the right materials along the construction supply chain. By tracking materials, they can keep an eye on shipments, storage as well as its location anytime, anywhere. In doing so, suppliers can stay updated on defects or reworks, and should either be required, they can easily communicate the updates to other stakeholders.


Matrak — the best material tracking solution for construction teams

Matrak was founded in 2017 and provides innovative mobile-first end to end supply chain tracking software solutions to the construction industry. 


Our app is available on all iOS, Android and Windows devices and has helped more than 157 projects in over 5 countries to enable the power of supply chain transparency.


Book a demo today and see how end-to-end supply chain visibility helps you create better builds for your clients.


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