Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Construction Material Supplies: The Smarter, The Better - Engr. Osaz’ ENOBAKHARE

There exist a supply or distribution gap between the manufacturers of building materials and end users and someone is got to file in. A construction site as small as a quarter-plot may attract the supply of over 20 different construction materials. Except where a nominated supplier has been appointed, anybody can supply just about any specified material to a construction site. If it’s that easy, then what’s the big deal? Meet the person that matters on site, get the correct material specification, meet the manufacturer or producer or distributor of such material(s), negotiate well, effect quick supply and keep others guessing. 

In practical terms, sites are often like barracks; soldiers come, soldiers go but barrack remains. There are hardly permanent suppliers, just permanent supplies. We all come to do our jobs and once we are done, we are off but the structure is left standing. 

For the period of site work, every stakeholder has got to put their hands on deck to ensure the successful delivery of the project. In the process, making sure there is prompt and adequate supply of building materials is an issue every contractor or procurement manager wants to handle in the best possible way. 

You don’t want monies meant for purchase and supply of materials stocked somewhere while work on site suffers a set-back and at the same time you don’t want sub-standard products flood the site, hence smart contractors adopt a pay-as-you-supply approach which gives advantage to the quickest and most diligent supplier and keeps the supply-end open.

Sending bulk SMS advertizing what you supply and compelling potential contractors to feel what your complimentary card looks like may not necessarily get you the desired attention. 

Construction works are civil (public) in nature; that is they are done in the open not necessarily within any four walls. You may have to leave your comfort zone and go-a-fishing. This is how it works; create time to visit a few active construction sites, speak to the site manager or any top site personnel and introduce your business. Ask if there are any pending supplies and what the material specifications and payment methods are. 

If you are okay with your findings (which is most likely going to be –once you deliver and we confirm that it is what we want, we pay you), do your due diligence amongst the site workers inquiring if suppliers get paid prompt (they are usually the best people to ask, others may be too scared to open up). If Yes, go find the producer or stores where you can get such items online or elsewhere, negotiate prices well (usually discounts are given for large purchases), add your profit, prepare your supply cost estimates and submit at the appropriate quarters (in some cases, this can be done orally through phone conversation). Once it is approved, bring the materials into the site faster than anyone else and the rest will reflect as credit in your bank account. 
Although supply of building materials is highly profitable and generally considered less-tasking when compared to other site jobs, there is some level of risk involved. 

On the positive side, for every trip of sand supplied to a site, a sand supplier can earn up to 3,000 NGN in net profit such that if he or she successfully implement a 50-trip supply in a week, it amounts to 150,000 NGN in total profit even without owning a dumper truck or a shovel and those who supply stones (e,g. granite) make even more, up to 1,000 per ton (that is about 30,000 NGN for a single trip of 30-tons). 

In order not to bear the risk alone, suppliers often transfer some of the risk to the store owners, haulage man or the producer of the item to be supplied. Also, lobbying cannot be completely ruled out in supply contracts which may cause some initial hitches. 

Also like every other business, losses could be incurred at some points maybe due to accidents during haulage, overhanging debts, poor specifications, false weights, seizures, etc but overall it’s worth the while. 

No qualification is needed and a couple of people effect supplies and earn big without ever lifting a finger.

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