The recession of the last few years hit the construction industry hard. A limited number of companies decided to risk building new homes while the housing market struggled with low prices and plenty of underwater mortgages, and few commercial construction teams wanted to start new projects when many office spaces were already vacant. Due to these challenges, the construction industry remained largely stagnant for several years. However, it's starting to turn around. The shift could have a significant impact on the transportation industry as well as builders and building material manufacturers - like those who produce windows and doors and roofing materials - who need to distribute their products to lumberyards, large construction sites and big box home improvement stores.
Construction starting to pick up once more
In recent months, things have slowly started to pick up and the economy seems to be on more stable ground than it was in the past. This has reflected positively on the construction industry, which is now experiencing a revival of sorts, with more builders taking on new projects and investors ramping up the funding available for such initiatives.
The Commerce Department recently unveiled figures that indicate the industry is on the road to recovery as more people find jobs, search for homes, plan to start their own companies or aim to grow their corporations. Data revealed construction spending rose steadily in February, jumping 1.2 percent from January's numbers to an annual rate of $885.1 billion. This represents a significant increase, considering spending had dropped 2.1 percent in January.
One of the most significant factors in the improving market is private residential construction. According to the data, spending on these types of projects leaped 2.2 percent to what CNBC reported is the highest level seen since November 2008. Public sector construction increased 0.9 percent, marking the second consecutive month of gains.
Material shortages could cause problems for builders
Because the construction industry performed so poorly for several years, many building material suppliers went out of business as they were unable to sell enough product to make a profit. As the industry slowly revives, this could pose a significant problem for builders across the nation who don't have access to the amount of essential materials they need to construct homes, government buildings and commercial properties.
In order to obtain the amount of supplies necessary for a project, a construction firm may choose to work with a transportation company that can help it access materials in a timely fashion. However, fleets may need to revise their current strategies for deliveries and pickups, especially if a construction team is in a hurry to get their projects done quickly. Suppliers that are still in business after the recession may not be producing as many building essentials as they once did, meaning drivers responsible for transporting construction cargo may need to make more stops in order to get the amount of materials a construction team needs. Vehicle routing software can help transporters remain efficient. The software creates best practices with local, regional or long haul routing, allowing companies to make the most of time spent on the road and plan stops optimally for better service and greater customer satisfaction.
Implementing route optimization software solutions can help a fleet manager dedicate less time determining how to best utilize resources and spend more time on other business tasks. The technology can also ensure drivers take the most direct paths to their destinations, pick up and deliver all construction supplies in a timely manner.