The construction industry in the UK is experiencing a period of growth which is forecast to continue well into the future, meaning that businesses in the industry will need to prepare for how the near- to medium- and long-term forecasts in the market will affect them. This will include extra attention being paid for projects meeting deadlines to prevent delays or budgetary concerns

One area of the industry that could be improved to help meet these needs and become more efficient is logistics. That’s why Wincanton, leading supply chain specialists, has expressed the importance of logistics in construction. The coordination and delivery of planned resources is crucial to enable safe, efficient and effective construction activity, and provided some insight into how construction logistics companies can better assist the industry in delivering projects on time and without going over budget.

Why are construction logistics important?
No matter your construction project, ensuring you have the right materials and equipment is crucial to being proactive about delays. Having visibility on the delivery timings and knowing what’s arriving is of good quality for the cost of the overall budget.

One of the learnings from Wincanton’s Insight Paper is that over the past three decades, reports from within the construction industry have criticised logistics as “poorly planned, uncoordinated, disruptive, and wasteful.”

There is a clear need for an improvement in the approach to logistics to avoid labour hours being lost to downtime. Wincanton has outlined that as much as 9% of a professional’s working day may be lost waiting for or collecting materials, tools, and equipment, leading to an overall increase in costs.

How logistics experts can support construction

Strategic planning from the start of the project
Planning should always be prioritised not just at the beginning of the project but also throughout each phase. This is where the experts can benefit businesses within construction, as they have a greater understanding of risks, which they can use to assess and mitigate their damage to processes appropriately. Disruptions caused by weather or issues with the supply chain can cause huge delays to delivery, which expert knowledge could help reduce to keep to the project timeline.

Integrating technology for visibility and streamlining
Emerging technologies have offered solutions to some of the most common issues within logistics, one being visibility throughout the supply chain. Systems such as GPS tracking and RFID systems provide project managers and logistics transparency of the transport and movement of materials, equipment, and machinery. Adding warehouse management through cloud systems can help manage inventory, account for unexpected changes, and ensure compliance with the Development Consent Order.

Delivery through collaboration
The intricate nature of construction projects demands seamless collaboration between various stakeholders. Logistics experts play a pivotal role in fostering communication and coordination between suppliers, contractors, and project managers. By creating an integrated network that promotes transparency and accountability, logistics professionals ensure that each project component aligns harmoniously, ultimately contributing to timely and budget-effective delivery.

Prioritising safety and security
Logistics experts aren’t only concerned with disruptions to the supply chain but are hugely invested in the safety and security of the professionals on the project. From the origin causes all the way through to possible dangerous outcomes, they can analyse these risks to offer preventative measures through safety briefings and training sessions. This results in less downtime through days lost to injury, as Wincanton proved when they reached an impressive milestone of 1,100 days without a Lost Time Incident (LTI) in Bridgwater in 2022.