Two Dimensional View of the Supply Chain on Construction Projects

Salinda Perera1, Steven Davis2 & Marton Marosszeky3

1PhD Candidate, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, Phone +61 422 179 306, sperera@evanspeck.com
2Lecturer, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, Phone +61 2 9385 5052 , sdavis@unsw.edu.au
3Executive Consultant, Evans and Peck Pty Ltd. Level 6, Tower 2, 475 Victoria Ave, Chatswood, NSW, 2067, Australia, Phone +61 2 9495 0576, Email mmarosszeky@evanspeck.com

Abstract

Subcontracted trades undertake most of the physical construction work in construction projects. While many research projects have examined relationships between designers, developers and head contractors, there has been limited focus on detailed analysis of the relationships between subcontractors. Where relationships in the supply chain have been examined it has tended to be along the dimension of contractual relationships between subcontractors and their suppliers. This paper looks at the relationships between subcontractors in a second dimension where they build on each other’s work on the construction site, but are not contractually related, except through the head contractor. Initial investigations carried out during this research confirm that subcontractors focus on the head contractor as their primary customer, and hence attention on the following trade as a customer is minimal. This paper proposes a shift in focus, whereby a subcontractor (preceding trade) attempts to meet the product and service quality expectations of the trade that will be building upon that subcontractor’s work (following trade) leading to an improved project culture and better overall project quality outcomes. Tools were developed to increase the interaction between preceding and following trades and communicate product and service quality expectations. These were implemented on three construction sites in Sydney, Australia while three other sites were monitored for changes in customer focus and culture without any interventions. Results to date show that the tools developed have in fact increased focus on following trades resulting in improvements in overall project characteristics.

Keywords

Construction, supply chain, process relationship, subcontractors, service quality, customer focus.

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Reference

Perera, S. , Davis, S. & Marosszeky, M. 2009, 'Two Dimensional View of the Supply Chain on Construction Projects' In:, Cuperus, Y. & Hirota, E.H., 17th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Taipei, Taiwan, 15-17 Jul 2009. pp 127-136

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