Construction Materials management can be defined as "the function responsible for the coordination of planning, sourcing, purchasing, moving, storing and controlling materials in an optimum manner so as a pre-decided service can be provided at a minimum cost".
By another definition, "materials management can be said to be that process of management which coordinates, supervises and executes the tasks associated with the flow of materials to, through, and out of an organization in an integrated fashion".
Lee and Dobler define materials management as, "a confederacy of traditional materials activities bound by common idea - the idea of an integrated management approach to planning, acquisition, conversion, flow and distribution of production materials from the raw material state to the finished product state."
From the above definitions, it is clear that the scope of materials management is vast. It has, directly or indirectly, impact on the activities of many related departments in the organization. Broadly, following can be identified as its main functions:
Building Materials Planning and ControlBased on the sales forecast and production plans, the materials planning and control is done. This involves estimating the individual requirements of parts, preparing materials budget, forecasting the levels of inventories, scheduling the orders and monitoring the performance in relation to production and sales.
PurchasingThis includes selection of sources of supply, finalization of terms of purchase, placement of purchase orders, follow-up maintenance of smooth relations with suppliers, approval of payments to suppliers, evaluating and rating suppliers.
Stores and Inventory ControlThis involves physical control of materials, preservation of stores, minimization of obsolescence and damage through timely disposal and efficient handling, maintenance of stores records, proper location and stocking. Stores is also responsible for the physical verification of stocks and reconciling them with book figures. The inventory control covers aspects such as setting inventory levels, ABC analysis, fixing economic ordering quantities, setting safety stock levels, lead time analysis and reporting.
Fig: Construction Materials Management
Importance of Construction Materials ManagementThe fast developing Indian economy has placed before the materials manager a tremendous challenge and responsibility. In many organizations, materials form the largest single expenditure item. An analysis of the financial statements of a large number of private and public sector organizations indicate that materials account for nearly 60% of the total expenditure. The information on the average materials expenditure for different industry groups is shown in Table 1.
Table 1 : Average Material Cost as Percent of Total Cost
|Percentage of Total Cost||Industry Groups|
|Above 75||Construction, fabrication, electrodes, tea etc.|
|65 – 75||Wool, sugar, jute, cotton, yarn, commercial vehicles, earth moving equipment, scooters, furniture etc.|
|55 – 65||Cotton textile, bread, ship building, cables, electricity generators, refrigerators, heavy machinery etc.|
|45 – 55||Chemicals, cement, pharmaceuticals, electronics, paper, engineering, non-ferrous type machine tools, explosives etc.|
|35 – 45||Fertilizer, steel, cigarettes, transportation, asbestos, news print, newspapers, ferro-alloys, aircraft manufacturing.|