Material Delivery Problems in Construction Projects: A Possible
Timo Ala-Risku*, email@example.com
Mikko Kärkkäinen*, firstname.lastname@example.org
*Helsinki University of Technology
BIT Research Centre
P.O. Box 5500
Abstract: Emerging project management methods for construction projects generate new kinds of challenges for the delivery process of materials. The rationale of such methods is to create short-term schedules, based on a constraint analysis of resources, for project tasks. This approach has two requirements for material deliveries: transparency of material availability and short response times in the supply chain. We propose a potential solution for managing the material logistics of construction projects. The empirically validated solution proposes a shipment tracking-based approach to provide inventory transparency, and a pro-active delivery approach for efficient material deliveries.
Keywords: Supply chain management, Logistics, Inventory transparency, Construction
Corresponding author: Timo Ala-Risku, P.O. Box 5500, FIN-02015 TKK, Finland; Tel: +358 9 451 3694;
Fax: +358 9 451 3665; E-mail: email@example.com
This research has been primarily supported by TEKES, the National Technology Agency of Finland. We also thank the companies who have contributed to the research results by financing the research and by providing empirical validation for our proposed material delivery solution.
New project management methods that address the shortcomings of traditional methods by adding flexibility to the execution of construction projects, create additional challenges to material delivery processes (e.g. Ballard, 2000; Choo et al., 1999; Chua et al., 2001; Koskela and Howell, 2002). The new methods acknowledge the challenge of creating an exact schedule beforehand for a large, complex project. Instead, such methods use continuous planning on a single construction task level. The basic philosophy underpinning the methods is to create short-term schedules, based on a constraint analysis of project resources, for project tasks. Such an approach places two requirements for the material deliveries: the analysis of material constraints requires transparency of material availability for site inventories and other stages of the supply chain, and the short timespan of planning demands short response times along the supply chain.
The aim of this paper is to present a potential solution for managing the material logistics of construction projects. The solution consists of a shipment tracking-based approach to provide inventory transparency, and a pro-active material delivery approach for timely material availability. In the first section we will review literature related to the new project management methods and the implications for material replenishments of construction projects. In the second section, we present our research problem and discuss our research design. The proposed solution for material replenishments of construction projects is presented in the third section; with the final section proffering concluding remarks and direction for further research.
Challenges in prevalent project management practice
The prevalent project management methods have recently been stated as inadequate for controlling the progress of construction projects (e.g. Ballard, 2000; Choo et al., 1999;
Chua et al., 2001; Koskela and Howell, 2002). Some of the strongest opinion has been presented by Koskela and Howell (2001; 2002) in their argument that the underlying theory of project management is obsolete and that no explicitly stated theory exists on
project management. Their main objection is that planning, execution, and control are not utilised in practice as suggested by PMBOK Guide of Project Management Institute.
In a similar vein, Johnston and Brennan (1996) have argued