Meeting construction deadlines and reducing downtime are critical whether the jobsite is a high-rise building or a highway infrastructure project. Safely and efficiently moving heavy equipment and building supplies across the worksite requires not only cranes, but also a variety of specialty lifting, pulling and tie-down products to control and secure the load.
At any time, progress on a construction project can come to a grinding halt when something unplanned occurs. For instance, a piece of equipment may need to be installed, repaired or replaced—and specific equipment, such as a crane sling of a certain type or dimension, must be available immediately to get the job done.
More frequently, purchasin
g rigging equipment is left to the last minute, either because it is an afterthought or because it is unclear what specifications the rigging requires for the job. Nevertheless, with the project deadline looming, site supervisors cannot waste time querying suppliers that cannot deliver the goods right away.
Traditionally, the industry has looked to a variety of supply channels, including rigging houses, to supply wire rope slings, other vendors for hardware such as chain and cable, and still other vendors for hoists, rope and cargo control items.
This scattered approach to ordering slows and complicates the process, delaying crucial orders from several days to a week or more. It puts essential items such as wire slings at the mercy of the typical rigging house, which only begins fabricating the equipment after the order has been placed. Valuable time is lost as the rigging house reacts to the order, gathers necessary materials and constructs the rigging.
To help make construction professionals more competitive, proactive rigging suppliers are offering a more responsive purchasing model.
One-Stop Shopping and Same-Day Shipping
Suppliers are implementing an Amazon-style approach to inventory by stocking the vast majority of required rigging items in-house, ready to ship. This enables busy construction professionals to order all of their rigging-related equipment without going to multiple vendors.
Most rigging shops wait until they get the order to begin fabricating the item before shipping it out, but that can cause delays of one to five days, depending on how complicated the material is.
This one-stop model prioritizes stocking the variety, quantity and selection of construction rigging supplies most commonly required, such as slings, chains, hoists and steel cable, so they can be shipped immediately. In this model, all needed part numbers and specifics are available at the point of order, whether by phone, website or catalog. Also, all products are housedunder one roof and can be prepared to ship and track nationally without a delay.
Because up to 10,000 in-stock rigging items are held in inventory by some wholesalers that implement the Amazon-style approach, same-day shipping can be offered on up to 80 percent of typical orders.
Rush and Emergency Response
Without required rigging equipment, a construction crane can sit idle—along with much of the construction crew—potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars per day in equipment rental, unproductive labor and project delays.
While any vendor can rush a single order, few have organized their processes to expedite orders for the majority of their customers, including rush and emergency situations. Now, some construction rigging suppliers are streamlining their entire process from order to delivery around speed of response. Some websites are set up to enable one-click shopping for routine items, though other rigging suppliers for the construction industry go well beyond this approach.
When a rapid response is required, too often it may take a construction supplier several hours to reply to a customer request. If a supplier has its act together, its service representatives should be able to respond to a request within minutes to an hour. They should know what their customers will likely need, and have it in stock, ready to ship for same- or next-day delivery.
Beyond this, a responsive supplier should be reachable by a variety of methods to best accommodate customers’ needs in the field. In a true rush or emergency, it may not be possible to place a formal purchase order, so it’s important to be able to text, call or email a picture of what’s needed.
Expert Guidance and Engineering Support
Because construction worksites and workloads will vary and safety is critical, expert guidance and engineering support is necessary at times to provide the optimal rigging equipment for the job. Site supervisors and purchasers often do not know what rigging equipment specifications they need in terms of weight capacity, configuration and options.
For instance, when dealing with slings of an unusual size, shape or capacity—or an unbalanced load or other complications such as varied leg lengths—it is important to get help from an engineer.
Going Beyond Typical Stock Items
Custom rigging is most commonly required when rigging length and capacity vary, but other factors such as different finishes (including galvanized and stainless) also can play a role depending on the application. No matter how routine or custom the rigging, all products should be certified and all slings fabricated to exacting ASME B.30.9 standards for safety.
The Amazon-style purchasing model also allows the choice of sourcing parts domestically or internationally. Sometimes a construction job specifies only U.S. sourcing of rigging products and equipment, such as for certain government-related contracts. Other times, international suppliers may be necessary to meet construction project criteria such as geographic location or low-bid cost.
As the construction industry struggles to adapt to jobsite surprises and tighter project schedules, the new one-stop shop model that prioritizes wide selection, fast delivery and customization will help industry professionals stay one step ahead of the competition.
Tim Murphy is owner of Houston-based Murphy Industrial Products. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit murphyindustrialproducts.com.