Read 7 min

Just-in-time material delivery gets a bad rap in construction sometimes. People usually think it means:

  1. Only bringing materials to the project just when you need it from the vendor.

  2. Keeping no inventory onsite.

But this is not the case.


Just-in-time material delivery is THIS in construction:

  1. Bringing materials to the zone on the project just-in-time for the work

  2. In a flow–preferably according to a Takt plan.

  3. From the vendor directly or from the vendor through a lay-down yard.

  4. With material inventory buffers.

If you bring materials directly from the vendor, like when you order…






–Wood supplies




–Other readily available items


You have the following steps in the value stream:


a. Finish material goods.


b. Load materials.


c. Transport materials.


d. Offload materials.


e. Transport to zone.


If you bring it through a lay-down area, like when you order…




–Electrical gear




–Other long-lead items


You have the following steps in the value stream:


a. Finish material goods.


b. Load materials.


c. Transport materials.


Added step – Offload to lay-down area.


Added step – Maintain materials in inventory.


Added step – Re-load materials for transport to zone.


Added step – Transport to building and zone.


d. Offload materials.


e. Transport to zone.


So, bringing it directly to the site has fewer steps and saves more money, but sometimes using a lay-down yard is necessary. The most important part of JIT in construction is to not bring it to the zone until you need it. If you do, you will slow down production. People get in trouble when they prioritize reducing those extra steps over keeping the project clean and clear. Let me say this. Most of the time it is better to add those steps and use a lay-down yard over clogging up the project site by staging too many materials at the place of work.



    1. No stocking the entire floor or project all at one time.

    2. No stocking before it is needed.

    3. No leaving items around for other contractors to trip over.

Remember to follow these steps:

  1. -Always create a flowable schedule that can be used to schedule materials to the project site JIT.

  2. -Always manage that procurement with a log or on your schedule.

  3. -Always include a material inventory buffer into your supply chain duration so you can acquire enough materials to keep the project fed. A material inventory buffer is a buffer of a certain amount of materials that you keep on hand for a specified amount of time ahead of the work so you do not have too much inventory to cause waste, but enough to feed the work.

  4. -Always intentionally decide how materials are to be brought to the site according to your systems. Always bring them according to zones, not phases or buildings.

I hope you have enjoyed this quick read.


As we close, please remember these things you should NEVER do:

  1. -Never schedule materials according to a schedule without trade flow.

  2. -Never only bring materials from the vendor to the project site. You must engage a lay-down yard when needed.

  3. -Never order materials without a material inventory buffer.

  4. -Never order your materials batched. Order them by zone.


If you begin practicing JIT materials deliveries by zone, according to a flow, you will certainly increase your production.


Jason Schroeder

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
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-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

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