In the construction industry, the same question is always used to gauge success: “Did the project complete on time and on budget?” As construction managers, our job is to ensure that the answer to that question is always “yes.”
To ensure a great outcome, detailed and accurate planning during the early stages is imperative with any construction project. All too often, a project team can find itself starting “behind the eight ball,” needing to shift construction activities out of sequence in order to accommodate material lead times and delivery dates that were not properly identified and anticipated at the project outset. At Hughes Marino CM we are constantly evaluating and enhancing the tools we use to track deliverables and project milestones in order to avoid just these kinds of negative surprises. In addition to the detailed Project Budget and Schedule we prepare for each job, we use the general contractor’s procurement log as a quality control measure that can impact and/or validate the project schedule.
So, what is a procurement log, why is it important, what does a procurement log look like?
What is a procurement log?
In short, the procurement log is a working document that identifies lead times and delivery dates for every material required for construction in order to complete the project on time.
Why is a procurement log important?
Mike Samudio, Senior Project Manager for Rudolph & Sletten, Inc. explains his take on the importance of the procurement log:
“The success or failure of meeting a project schedule invariably comes down to ensuring that all parts, material and equipment associated with the scope of work arrives on time. It is imperative that General Contractors are diligent in managing this procurement process. The procurement log is a detailed list of various components on the project. The more thorough this list is, the frequency it is maintained and the accuracy of the information help to improve the chances of successfully completing the project on or ahead of schedule.”
Have you created your procurement log?
This initial question could start a conversation that alleviates hours of painful negotiations weeks, or even months into the project. Be sure to ask it early!
What does a procurement log look like?
Certain project management software dictates the organization of a procurement log, and some software combines another component, the submittal log, with the procurement log. I’ve found that the simplest solution is often the best, and I believe the most user-friendly software is Microsoft Excel. It’s easy to manipulate, and everyone can open an Excel document. Here’s a quick look at a blank procurement log:
Quick note: The best procurement log is a working document created by the project manager, not the software. When a submittal or procurement date is met, the date is entered in bold, or with an “A” attached to the date (see the “Issue ITB” column in the graphic above). An experienced project manager understands how the material lead times affect the project schedule, and won’t let the software dictate the deliverable dates. The project manager should manage the project, not the software.
A completed procurement log simply scratches the surface and should be created during the early stages of the project. Always remember, this log is a working document for the project manager to refer to until all materials have been delivered to the project site.
With hundreds, if not thousands, of materials being delivered to the site over the course of a project, the procurement log is a key tool that we use to effectively manage the myriad details required in order to successfully deliver a project on time.
Nik Bandak is a senior project manager for Hughes Marino Construction Management, an award-winning California commercial real estate company specializing in project management, tenant representation and building purchases, with offices in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Contact Nik at 1-844-NO-CONFLICT or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.