Kanban is a one of the lean approaches adopted within the industry in order to pull construction materials through their production systems on a just-in-time basis. The approach is developed in the automotive industry and now being widely implemented within the construction industry with many success stories. The objective of this approach is to accomplish management of products and materials with least waste; e.g., unnecessary inventories and processing time, waiting time, as well as physical waste. The primary means for achieving the objective is to simplify the processes of acquiring, storing, distributing and disposing of selected products and material on site. This paper talks about a particular type of kanban, called supplier kanban. The supplier kanban is the one which transmits a replenishment signal to outside suppliers and from suppliers to manufacturers of the products as well as signal for delivery of material just-in-time on the construction site. Here the author talks about a material management strategy adopted by Fusion 21, a group of local authorities and housing association that use supplier kanbans to signal the need for delivery of selected products from preferred suppliers and manufacturers to site just-in-time for the operations and maintenance of their social housing stocks. Fusion21 is at the forefront of procurement partnerships in the social housing sector and is the winner of the Housing Corporation Gold award for ‘Innovation in Procurement’. Fusion21 members own over 135,000 properties throughout the UK with membership expected to increase significantly over the next 4 years. Fusion21 jointly procures construction related contracts on behalf of its partner organisations and already manages numerous frameworks for various elements with current activity of over £45M per year.
kanban, just-in-time, lean construction, material management, supply chain integration, pull
Khalfan, M. , McDermott, P. , Oyegoke, A. , Dickinson, M. , Li, X. & Neilson, D. 2008, 'Application of Kanban in the UK Construction Industry by Public Sector Clients' In:, Tzortzopoulos, P. & Kagioglou, M., 16th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Manchester, UK, 16-18 Jul 2008. pp 347-358