Development of a Materials Management Strategy to Enable Continuous Work Flow on-Site.

Cynthia C.Y. Tsao1 & Helena Lidelöw2

1Director of Lean Strategy, Consigli Construction Co., Inc., Boston, MA, USA, and Owner, Navilean, Brookline, MA, USA,
2Associate Professor, Div. of Industrialized and Sustainable Construction, Dept. of Civil, Environmental, and Natural Resources Engineering, Luleå University of Technology,


When project teams are pressured to limit internal or external Lean coaching due to budgetary concerns, Lean coaches may not have sufficient time to guide project teams in materials management to support milestones. Consequently, while organized project teams will make the time to develop a strategy for managing key materials that impact the critical path, disorganized project teams will more likely manage most materials on an ad-hoc basis. This lack of a materials management strategy then leads to unrealized profits and hidden wastes on projects. As a result, this research seeks to investigate how to develop a basic materials management framework to help project teams begin determining which bulky materials should be: (1) Using a pull system (e.g., through the use of Kanban cards or milk runs) to coordinate deliveries, (2) Kitted off-site vs. on-site, and (3) Organized into prefabricated assemblies. Specifically, this paper will identify various questions, calculations, and artefacts (e.g., equipment for handling and staging materials, signage used to make the materials management strategy transparent to all project participants) that contribute to establishing a comprehensive materials management strategy. In particular, space management emerges as an important tool to organize the flow of materials to match job-site installation rates.


Materials Management, Space Management, Floor Plan Boards, Procurement, Prefabrication



Tsao, C.C. & Lidelöw, H. 2017, 'Development of a Materials Management Strategy to Enable Continuous Work Flow on-Site.' In:, 25th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Heraklion, Greece, 9-12 Jul 2017. pp 853-860

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