Lean Commercial Management: Defining the Borders of the Discipline in the Construction Industry

Daria Zimina1 & Christine L. Pasquire2

1Research Associate, Civil and Engineering Department, Loughborough University. Loughborough, LE11 3TU, UK, Phone +44 1509 228791, FAX +44 1509 223891, d.zimina@lboro.ac.uk
2Senior Lecturer, Civil and Engineering Department, Loughborough University. Loughborough, LE11 3TU, UK, Phone +441509 222895, C.L.Pasquire@lboro.ac.uk

Abstract

Commercial management is defined by the Institute of Commercial Management as ―the identification and development of business opportunities and the profitable management of projects and contracts, from inception to completion.‖ It addresses companies‘ internal and external relationships and thus plays an enormously important role in construction, which in essence is an inter-organisation industry. Construction projects require the contribution of multiple actors each of them representing a separate business entity with their own goals and incentives. Commercial management is the discipline that supports communication between all these individual bits. This inevitably puts it in a position to affect company profitability and long-term business success in a fast and dramatic way. Commercial management relates both to the policy of the company, or how it intends to deliver a project, plans its relationship with other organisations; and to operations (contracting, procurement, money flow and accounting), or how this policy is put in practice. In the developing lean construction industry good intentions are rarely supported by changes in the commercial operations. The projects are completed with lean principles but worked around habitual accounting, contracts and in many cases even procurement. Reliance on these commercial operations might hamper full exploration of lean benefits. This paper addresses the following questions: what is the relation between commercial management and project delivery? Is lean commercial management a necessary part of lean construction? If lean commercial management has to be implemented, what should it be like? The hypotheses tested in this paper suggests that (1) lean construction is a viable choice of commercial strategy (2) lean commercial management is an integral part of lean construction system subordinate to the project delivery.

Keywords

Lean commercial management, Concept formation, Lean Construction.

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Reference

Zimina, D. & Pasquire, C.L. 2010, 'Lean Commercial Management: Defining the Borders of the Discipline in the Construction Industry' In:, Walsh, K. & Alves, T., 18th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Haifa, Israel, 14-16 Jul 2010. pp 601-608

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