Interfaces, Flows, and Problems of Construction Supply Chains – A Case Study in Brazil

Diego Vinicius Souza de Souza1 & Lauri Koskela2

1PhD Student, College of Science & Technology, School of the Built Environment, The Crescent – Maxwell Building, 7th floor – Room 716, M5 4WT, Salford, UK, Phone +44 (0) 161 295 4748, d.v.souzadesouza@edu.salford.ac.uk
2Professor, College of Science & Technology, School of the Built Environment, The Crescent – Maxwell Building, 5th floor – Room 507, M5 4WT, Salford, UK, Phone +44 (0) 161 295 6378, l.j.koskela@salford.ac.uk

Abstract

This research investigates the interfaces, flows, and problems of construction supply chains in the infrastructure sector. The discussion focuses on how construction companies should manage different interfaces between suppliers and project sites, not only from a temporary project perspective but also from a long-term enterprise viewpoint. Such interfaces are studied according to the flows of information, capital, and materials connecting the different parties in supply chains. In this context, a framework comprising interfaces and flows is developed. Based on such framework, problems of construction supply chains are identified and positioned accordingly. Therefore, the main purpose of this paper is to develop and implement a framework for addressing interfaces, flows, and problems of construction supply chains. This underlying research was developed in a Brazilian contractor, responsible for infrastructure projects such as tunnelling, earthworks, and highways construction. In addition, eleven of its suppliers were included in the empirical investigation. Data has been collected in semi-structured interviews, meetings, collection and analysis of documents, observation of meetings, workshops, site visits, and from the company’s ERP database. It was found a lack of awareness regarding the existence of the abovementioned supply chains’ interfaces and flows, the root causes of supply chain problems, and the implications of supply chain issues in project delivery. This research has two limitations: was developed in the context of infrastructure projects and investigates a single case-study. Implications from this paper are directed to the research field of frameworks for managing construction supply chains.

Keywords

Construction, Supply chain management, Interfaces, Flows, Problems

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Reference

Souza, D.V.S.D. & Koskela, L. 2014, 'Interfaces, Flows, and Problems of Construction Supply Chains – A Case Study in Brazil' In:, Kalsaas, B.T., Koskela, L. & Saurin, T.A., 22nd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Oslo, Norway, 25-27 Jun 2014. pp 1095-1106

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