Can I Group Material Resources (Thousands of them) RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi All,

    Still pretty noob to Project, but trying to work out if it can handle all our material resources in an easy way.

    We have around 20 staff building luxury swimming pools, and MS Project looks great at tracking their time on the job. What I would like to do is track the materials we use on each job. I could input all these on to the Resource Pool, but they go in to thousands of lines.

    So the question is, can I group and sub group the materials so it’s easier to drill down and select them in my project rather than going through every material in a dropdown list. An example would be PIPE > UPVC PIPE > BENDS >

    OR, am I completely wrong, and I should be using Sage or Quickbooks for monitoring the material costs.

    Any help much appreciated.


    Tuesday, February 7, 2017 1:35 PM

All replies

  • unclebigdog --

    Keep in mind that Microsoft Project is a scheduling tool, not an accounting tool.  Given the complexity of your material resource needs, I would recommend you use Microsoft Project for scheduling the work, and another application for tracking material costs.  Just a thought.  I hope the others in this forum will give you their thoughts as well.

    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Tuesday, February 7, 2017 4:16 PM
  • unclebigdog,

    Project isn't set up or designed to do material inventory management. First of all, material resources in Project have no maximum like labor resources so you won't be able to set a quantity limit on the number of 2" PVC elbows for example. You may only have 50 in stock, but Project will allow you to allocate 100 of them on various projects with no alert being issued. Second, although you can apply one level of grouping for material (e.g. UPVC pipe is in the PIPE group), you will not be able to further break down that UPVC PIPE into BENDS, TEES, etc.

    You can use extra text fields for identification of material groups and then filter or group on that field. However, understand that if you use text fields (e.g. Text1, Text2, etc.) on the Resource Sheet to categorize material, those text fields are not the same as text fields shown in the Gantt Chart view (see:

    So, the bottom line is, yes you potentially could group material in Project but if you want a level of material inventory control, Project is not the best application.

    Hope this helps.


    Tuesday, February 7, 2017 4:23 PM
  • Typically, the cost of any task in any kind of construction is about 50/50 labour (see what I did there?) and materials.

    Ideally, the final result of your project plan will capture 100% of the scope, ie the tasks, and 100% of the cost of every task.

    So you have Task A with a duration of say 5 days. Bob and Fred are assigned to it. They each cost $50/hour.
    5 x 2 x 8 x 50 = $4000.

    Also, they use a bag of materials, whatever they might be, another $4000.

    A reasonable first estimate would be to simply have a material resource called, say, "bag of materials for task A", with a cost attached to it.

    How many tasks are there in building a pool? 200? Then you have 200 "bags of materials"

    The itemised shopping list of what goes into the bag still has to be worked out, say in a spreadsheet, but you have a good project plan with nothing left out of it, so you have a good estimate of project cost, as well as how the cost is distributed over time (that is called cash flow), and a good basis for tracking progress.

    If you want something to practice on, the residential construction template is handy for this because it has 109 line of tasks (including milestones and summaries) but it has no material type resources and no costs. Fill in the blanks, and it becomes progressively a more complete and correct plan.

    Any help?

    Tuesday, February 7, 2017 11:01 PM