Innovative and Lean Construction Success Factors for Component Manufacturers

Lars Stehn1 & Matilda Hook2

1Ass. Prof., Div. of Timber Structures, Lulea University of Technology, 971 87 Lulea, Sweden, Phone +46 920 491976, FAX +46 920 491091, lms@ltu.se
2M.SC., Div. of Timber Structures, Lulea University of Technology, 971 87 Lulea, Sweden, Phone +46 920 491028, FAX +46 920 491091, mathoo@ltu.se

Abstract

Compared to other industries, the construction industry has not achieved the same improvements in terms of productivity, customer benefits, and quality. Low innovation activity and supplier cooperation in construction might be one reason for the low level of large-scale improvements. However, the search for improvements in the construction industry has led to interest for new innovations. One way for the construction industry to improve the building process is through use of innovative managerial concepts, as lean and agile construction. The aim of this work is to categorize Swedish component suppliers of different construction materials that act with a clear supplier coordinator commitment, on the basis of lean and innovative business strategic concepts. A secondary purpose is to find success factors for the component suppliers within the derived lean and innovative concepts. Results from the exploratory comparative study of steel-, concrete-, and timber component suppliers indicate differences between different construction material suppliers. This study also suggests a possible strategy where products accompanied with technical support and software knowledge offered to the customer, customer integration in product development, and use of product development networks to generate new knowledge and components seems to be distinct success factors.

Keywords

Lean construction, lean thinking, innovation, component suppliers, success factors

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Reference

Stehn, L. & Hook, M. 2004, 'Innovative and Lean Construction Success Factors for Component Manufacturers' In:, Bertelsen, S. & Formoso, C.T., 12th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Helsingør, Denmark, 3-5 Aug 2004.

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