Lean Supply Chain Decisions Implications for Construction in a Developing Economy

Fidelis Emuze1 & John Smallwood2

1Senior Lecturer, Department of Built Environment, Central University of Technology, Free State Private Bag X20539, Bloemfontein, 9300, South Africa Tel: (051) 507 3661 Fax: (051) 507 3254 E-mail: femuze@cut.ac.za
2Professor, Department of Construction Management, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, PO Box 77000, Port Elizabeth, 6031, South Africa Tel: (041) 504 2790 Fax: (041) 504 2345 E-mail: John.Smallwood@nmmu.ac.za


Construction in developing economies is now a vital sector that contributes more than a marginal growth to the economic emancipations of countries in sub-Sahara Africa, South America and Asia. The upswing in construction activities tends to increase the number of actors that must make decisions, which determine project outcomes. Thus, astute decisions are critically important for project success. This paper addresses how lean supply chain decisions engender project value in the sector. Qualitative approach in the form of “structured literature review” led to the primary data that were generated. Using lean ‘general management’ and ‘construction management’ as the subject area, supply chain decisions were examined in the literature. The increased number of stakeholders, especially at the operational phase of project execution necessitates the negotiation of improved collaborative working within the supply chain. The interfaces between suppliers, subcontractors and contractors imply that supply chain decisions affect the finished product. These interfaces may either accelerate or decrease the rate of production on sites. The enhancement of how supply chain decisions are made and the ‘quality’ of such decisions could drive out / reduce wasteful activities, and then ensure that the finished product achieve expected ends. This discourse contributes to management related initiatives that are already on-going in the industry, especially as it affects developing economics.


Developing economies, Lean construction, Performance, Supply chain management



Emuze, F. & Smallwood, J. 2013, 'Lean Supply Chain Decisions Implications for Construction in a Developing Economy' In:, Formoso, C.T. & Tzortzopoulos, P., 21th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Fortaleza, Brazil, 31-2 Aug 2013. pp 195-204

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