A STUDY OF THE MATERIAL MANAGEMENT STATEGIES OF CONSTRUCTION FIRMS IN GHANA CASE STUDY OF FIRMS ENGAGED BY THE GHANA HEALTH SERVICE IN NORTHERN REGION- TAMALE
1.1 GENERAL BACKGROUND
The competitive nature and complexity inherent in the construction industry is the outcome of long standing arm’s length and adverse relationships. Still, actors are becoming more and more aware to the fact that successful material management strategies necessitate a balanced approach to supply management. The construction industry is one of the oldest and largest industries in Ghana and to say the world at large. Construction activity provides employment on a large scale. Material management, according to Omotosho (2006) is of central importance to the economic health of the construction industry. Material component in construction can be regarded as any item that is permanently fixed in position as a component of the final product (Olubodun, 1989). Material is a very significant construction input, most particularly in building. Shortage of and defects in, materials for construction works is a major contributor to equipment down times and the loss of labour productivity on building sites, thus causing astronomical rise in construction cost as opined in Olubodun (1989). The cost of materials has been identified to constitute a major cost on the cost of construction by various authors. Olubodun (1989) established that the material contents for building usually range between 45% and 60% of total cost. Meanwhile, Ene (1997) noted that the cost of materials accounts for between 60% and 70% of total construction cost while Carter R. and Price (1992) stressed that the cost of materials has been put at an average of 65% of contract sum. Ayeni (1986) and Wahab (1996) cited in Omotosho (2006) ranged it between 50% and 60% of the overall cost of all the resources that go into construction. Adantey and Ago (1999) emphasized that in the 1980’s in Ghana, material component in a traditional building was about 60% of the building cost; in contrast, the labour cost was estimated at about 20% while profit and overheads contributed to the remaining 20%. Therefore, in order to optimize the cost of construction, it is expedient that proper flow of materials must be maintained on construction sites to avoid excessive wastage and save idle time (Mezue, 1992). However, according to Omotosho (2006), material management is the proper management of material component in construction so that the quantities required for a particular operation are used without excessive waste. On the other hand, Adantey and Ago (1999) maintained that material control strategy is a planned action or procedure that incorporates the use of operational bills for materials requisition and monitoring; planning and organization of construction sites to enhance transportation flow; quality control and security; specific education of the operatives and the use of appropriate incentive schemes which could go a long way in reducing waste on construction sites. It was further stressed that such a strategy would increase the profitability of a building contract and in the long run reduce the cost of executing a building project (Ojimelekwe and Agbo, 1999). Meanwhile, materials can be identified and checked before and after they are used in the works. As documented in Omotosho (2006), the common methods or strategies for controlling materials on construction sites are as follows: Site planning and organization; materials scheduling and procurement; stock control and storage techniques; materials movement and handling; quality control and checking; security measures; site communication; education and incentive schemes, as well as good supervision. Therefore, the study of material management strategies in the building construction industry may have a significant impact on improving the economic well-being of the industry in particular and the whole nation at...