Material Management: Why It’s Important and How UPA Can Help

Imagine being a utility technician and showing up at a job site, ready and willing to tackle that day’s new task. Let’s say you work for a gas utility, and your next assignment is to install a series of pipes.  As you’re working, you notice that the number of pipes stacked near you won’t be enough to complete the job. Your suspicion is confirmed when your supply runs dry halfway through. You could borrow inventory from a co-worker, but they would end up shorthanded as well. So, what do you do?

While that example is obviously an oversimplification, it illustrates precisely what can happen on the job site when material management is not adequately handled. Today, we’ll explore the concept of material management. We’ll dig into the function and explain how Utility Partners of America (UPA) can ensure a smooth material management process for your utility.

What is material management? What does a material manager do?

By now, you probably have a pretty good sense of what goes into proper material management. However, the reality is there’s much more to it than just ensuring supplies arrive on-site and on time. First, you should know that (when done correctly) material management can improve a company’s productivity and efficiency. Material managers should be adept at forecasting, which will ensure more suitable purchases. Accurate forecasting reduces the risk of having too much or too little equipment.

Related: Project Management: Keeping it Simple

Additionally, material management includes receiving inventory and properly storing it in an environment fit for each material. The bread and butter of material management is coordinating the delivery of the right materials at the right time. Material managers should also be good communicators and skilled in supplier relations.

How UPA can augment your material management efforts

For more than six years, UPA has offered third-party material management experience to utilities just like yours — though we’ve been a trusted partner in other facets of operations for utilities for nearly three decades. We offer comprehensive material management services, including everything from freight coordination to quality control inspections and inventory management.

Related: PPE Inspections and Why They’re Important

One aspect of our services that utilities find particularly valuable is our reporting and metrics tracking functionality. We can also help you examine how your materials are being used and how efficiently your purchasing dollars are being spent.

Related: How to Draft KPIs for Project Management

We use proven business processes and supply chain management software customized to clients’ reporting and record-keeping requirements. And while we’re proud of our operational expertise in managing utility clients’ material management, we’re equally as thrilled with our ability to adhere to clients’ stringent data security protocols. At UPA, we want your data and confidential information to be just as safe as you do.

Interested in learning more about UPA’s material management offerings? Contact us or call us at (888) 667-1411 today and let’s chat.