The development of an information management system for materials management in large construction companies operating in the Ghanaian construction industry

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Materials are one of the resources that require special attention while creating a project's master plan as well as during the daily construction progress. The absence of materials when needed is one of the main causes of loss of productivity at a jobsite. Inefficient materials management can lead to an increase of 50% in work hours. As a result, a detailed plan for the materials management of each construction project is« necessary. The critical role of materials management in the success of a construction project motivates the development of a new model for the process of materials management for the construction industry. Materials management problems have a great impact on general contractors. It was based on these preliminary findings that the researcher decided to carry out the research. Currently, materials management functions in the construction industry are often performed on a fragmented basis with minimal communication and no clearly established responsibilities among the parties involved. In addition, the collaboration required among departments has not been considered and implemented. This fragmentation creates gaps in information flow, which leads to delays in material ordering and receiving, expediting costs, excessive inventories of some items and project delays. However, model-based, computerised solutions to materials management problems is the way forward in summarising the duties of the materials manager at the same time bridging the information gap that exists between these departments and providing synergy amongst the departments. The objectives of the research were the following: • To undertake a comprehensive study and documentation of the current materials management systems in the Ghanaian construction industry. • To identify the major factors that influence the dissemination of information for the efficient and effective management of materials within construction companies in Ghana • To develop information management system for the efficient Management of materials for Construction firms in Ghana. The researcher used purposive sampling in obtaining the population (36 D1 contractors) as provided by the ABCCG, it was deemed that these contractors (Dl) would have an outfit capable of having a structured organisational hierarchy, thus giving the researcher credible information for the research. Some of the major findings in the study brought out interesting facts and Solution to these problems; these problems were directly tied to the objectives of the study. The researcher noticed that in general the construction industry is not paying enough attention to materials management rather focusing on labour to make savings. The next finding was in respect to information creation, dissemination and destination in the area of materials management it was the authors observation that the information flow was fragmented and open for errors due to double-entry and mismanagement of the information created, this was further compounded by the problem of easy accessibility since 36% of the information existed in a locked paper environment, 42% of the information generated went home with the personnel in charge of the creation of the information and the final 22% existed in personal devices such as office computers, PDA's and mobile phones. This made accessing the information time consuming. The study developed a computer based model for materials management practises which runs through five phases of the materials management practised in Ghana and developed in the study namely bidding, sour ring, material procurement, construction phase and post- construction phase, it is the authors hope the model will bring about standardisation in the industry which may pave the way forward. In conclusion the primary goal is to have the material needed, in the amount needed with the quality required, and the time that they are needed at the right cost. Most companies have a materials management system that serves their needs, although it could be improved. Standardisation of the materials management system could be a step forward in improving the system and eliminating some of the challenges. The research presented in this document is aimed at designing an integrated system for materials management. A fully integrated and standardised approach will better improve communication and minimise gaps in information flow among all the parties and departments involved. The research derives the optimal integration of people, decision processes, information support systems and data that are required to support efficient and effective systems for acquisition, procurement, transport, storage and allocation of materials in the construction industry.  
A project report presented to the Department of Building Technology of the Faculty of Architecture and Building Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for a degree of Master of Science in Construction Management.