Today’s technology is designed to meet our needs instantly. Consumers automatically expect the speed, accuracy and consistency of e-commerce shopping with every transaction. We have the ability to go online, do a quick search, compare options, and order the item with a saved credit card. Before we know it, the item has already arrived at our doorstep.
The e-commerce revolution has brought an exorbitant amount of ease and convenience to our daily lives, so why shouldn’t it translate to construction? Though construction companies are adopting digital and cloud technology, there is still no consistent interface between the field and warehouse for requesting needed items, or even information about what’s available.
Disorganized and inefficient field requisition can not only impact a day’s work, but a project’s bottom line. When time is always at a premium, a phone call submitting a field request is at best, inefficient. At its worst, orders are misunderstood, misplaced and mismanaged. Email chains, paper forms and text chains are tedious, easily lost and usually disorderly. Without a new mindset about requisitioning and fulfilling field supply and equipment orders, any process will be time-consuming and error-prone.
The construction industry can conquer new heights in the field requisition process by taking a page out of the e-commerce fulfillment center model’s book. Just as consumers now rely on the veritable science of the ordering and delivery process, the field and warehouse teams can apply the same principles to achieve the same level of accuracy and efficiency.
The technology already exists, and it’s just a matter of applying the same operational processes to the day-to-day interactions between the field and warehouse. Not only do field teams show openness to new techniques and technologies, but they are also more likely to embrace the fulfillment center approach because it will make their jobs significantly easier. Adapting to this new model will be a straightforward transition, as anyone who has ordered a product online is familiar with the process.
Starting the digital platform in the field also cuts down on chatter and emails, displays more levels of visibility, and provides instantaneous tracking at every step along the way. At the same time, the warehouse team learns to think of their service as a fulfillment center.The construction industry has spent the last 30 years focusing on the warehouse and back office; now it’s time to focus on the field because they’re willing and able to seize the opportunity with enthusiasm.
As consumers, we’ve embraced the fulfillment model with open arms and now expect the same accuracy, precision and convenience with every purchase. When the field adopts this online shopping concept and the warehouse begins to behave like a fulfillment center, the field will embrace it just as consumers have.Once that customer/merchant mentality takes hold across the industry, the result will be streamlined field management and time and money savings at construction operations everywhere.