Guide to construction workforce supply chain

30/11/2023Zara James

What is Supply Chain Management in Construction?

With the construction supply chain becoming increasingly complex, supply chain management is being utilised more and more by those in the construction industry. 


Supply chain management (SCM) is the effective management of materials and resources needed for a project. It also includes the management of stakeholders on a project, such as manufacturers, suppliers, main contractors and subcontractors.


Successful supply chain management ensures construction projects are delivered to agreed deadlines, within budget and to a high quality. Collaboration between stakeholders is improved and project logistics and resources are mapped out clearly. 


A simplified example of a supply chain in the construction industry could be:


What are the Benefits of Supply Chain Management in Construction?

There are many benefits of implementing supply chain management including:

Improved Productivity


Supply chain management significantly improves productivity by ensuring supplies and resources are delivered on time, which means projects are delivered on schedule and within agreed budgets. 


Cost Efficiency 

Supply chain management improves cost efficiency by identifying where savings can be made and only spending where required. For example, savings can be made by evaluating processes, or looking at logistical costs and stock levels. This can improve the overall financial stability of a construction project.

Mitigating Risk


Risk factors in the construction industry include things such as labour shortages, material shortages or project delays due to weather. These can lead to increased prices and lead times. Supply chain management can help identify potential risks in advance. Proactively planning what to do when things go wrong means the project can continue to meet time and budget deadlines. 


Allocation of Resources


Supply chain management allows the planning and allocation of resources and supplies needed for projects. This ensures there are no shortages or overages, saving time and budget. 


End-Client Satisfaction


Successful supply chain management can ensure end-client satisfaction by meeting project timescales and set budgets, whilst delivering high quality results. 




Supply chain management gives visibility of the whole supply chain, ensuring the workforce on a construction project is engaged compliantly and legally, with checks such as right-to-work, CSCS card status, H&S and workforce qualifications.




Communication between all stakeholders on a construction project is improved as everyone involved at each stage of the project is clearly mapped on the supply chain. This improves visibility of people, processes, resources and logistics from day one, resulting in a smoother project execution. 

What digital technologies can help with supply chain management?

Digital technologies in supply chain management create a more effective supply chain.


  • Automation Software


Automation software improves efficiency across the construction supply chain with the management of materials, scheduling of deliveries and warehousing logistics. 


  • The Internet of Things (IoT) Tracking


The Internet of Things (IoT) has produced devices for the construction industry to monitor the progress of supplies and materials through the supply chain journey.


The trackers provide real-time notifications on issues such as shipping delays, which enables action to be taken to prevent further disruptions. 


Equipment on site can also be tracked, which helps to prepare for upcoming projects and reduce downtime. 


  • 3D Model Printing and VR Technology


3D printers can be used to create models of proposed projects, identifying flaws in the design at an early stage and highlighting changes to be made. This ensures the supply chain isn’t overloaded with potentially unsuitable materials, which mitigates risk and increases efficiency.  


Virtual reality (VR) works in a similar way, by allowing the visualisation of proposed construction projects via a headset or goggles. Again, issues can be identified before materials are ordered.


How can Indigo Help with Supply Chain Management?

Indigo has an enhanced supply chain solution, Insero, which provides access to a range of features for you to manage your supply chain compliance in a safe and easy way. 


Please get in touch to find out more about Insero. 

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