Alternative Supply-Chain Configurations for Engineered or Catalogued Made-to-Order Components: Case Study on Pipe Supports Used in Power Plants

Roberto J. Arbulu1 & Iris D. Tommelein2

1Master of Engineering, Construction Engineering and Management Program, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, University of California, Berkeley, USA, arbulu@uclink.berkeley.edu
2Professor, Construction Engineering and Management Program, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, 215-A McLaughlin Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1712, 510/643-8678, FAX 510/643-8919, tommelein@ce.berkeley.edu

Abstract

Many construction inefficiencies are due to supply-chain (SC) problems that occur at the interface between processes or disciplines. This paper illustrates such problems by describing a case study on the supply of pipe supports used in power plants. Pipe supports often arrive late at the construction site because their design tends to be pushed towards the end of the power plant design process due to the interaction of supports with other power plant systems. Since power plants are typically fast-track projects, the design and construction phases overlap. Late support design therefore constrains the SC and may ultimately cause project delays. This paper presents the five alternative SC configurations that have been identified in the case study. It addresses the need to accelerate the design, procurement, and fabrication processes of engineered or catalogued made-to-order pipe supports in order to avoid late arrivals to the site while making best use of the capabilities available in all SC participants. This paper concludes with a set of recommendations for performance improvement in the supply of pipe supports. Finally, it identifies research opportunities to achieve further improvement.

Keywords

Supply-chain management, construction supply chain, interdependency, batch size, alliance, standardization, modularization, push vs. pull, pipe support, design, procurement, fabrication, power plant, process mapping.

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Reference

Arbulu, R.J. & Tommelein, I.D. 2002, 'Alternative Supply-Chain Configurations for Engineered or Catalogued Made-to-Order Components: Case Study on Pipe Supports Used in Power Plants' In:, Formoso, C.T. & Ballard, G., 10th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Gramado, Brazil, 6-8 Aug 2002.

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