Evaluation and Improvement of the Procurement Process in Construction Projects

Luis F. Alarcon1, Rodrigo Rivas2 & Alfredo Serpell3

1Professor of Civil Engineering, Universidad Católica de Chile, Escuela de Ingeniería, Casilla 306, Correo 22, Santiago, Chile, lalarcon@ing.puc.cl. Visiting Professor, The Ohio State University.
2Graduate Student, Universidad Católica de Chile, Escuela de Ingeniería, Casilla 306, Correo 22, Santiago, Chile, rivlop@netline.cl.
3Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, Universidad Católica de Chile, Escuela de Ingeniería, Casilla 306, Correo 22, Santiago, Chile, aserpell@ing.puc.cl.

Abstract

A methodology to diagnose and evaluate the procurement process for investment projects, and launch a continuous improvement was developed and applied to selected projects. A thorough literature review was carried out along with study of cases, surveys and interviews to professionals involved in this area. As a result, a methodology for diagnosis and improvement was proposed and tested in selected projects. The results obtained show that the main problem of procurement is related to schedule delays and lack of specified quality for the project. To prevent this situation it is often necessary to dedicate important resources (money, personnel, time, etc.) to monitor and control the process. When applying the methodology to some projects, it was found that the main sources of “waste” were engineering, the system itself, the suppliers, and the policies. A great potential for improvement was detected if state of the art technologies such as, electronic mail, EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), bar codes, and other systems were applied to the procurement process. These technologies could help to eliminate the root causes for many types of wastes that were detected.

Keywords

Lean construction, procurement, performance indicators, process improvement

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Reference

Alarcon, L.F. , Rivas, R. & Serpell, A. 1999, 'Evaluation and Improvement of the Procurement Process in Construction Projects' In:, 7th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Berkeley, USA, 26-28 Jul 1999. pp 219-230

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