Logistics Strategy for Industrialised House Building
AbstractConstruction Logistics has recently emerged as an important consideration for Industrialized House Building (IHB). Previous research has demonstrated that construction logistics improves IHB through: the clarification of interfaces along the supply chain; increased supply chain efficiency; more productive construction sites; the transfer of value-adding activities from site to the supply chain; and the integration of site and supply chain. IHB research has commonly focused on buildings as product, their technical design and production, as well as the process of these activities. IHB companies seek the integration of these two aspects. However, there is growing realization of the value of integrating the supply chain through a focus on logistics. This paper argues that in order to achieve a tripartite integration of product, process, and logistics, that first an overarching company-level logistics strategy is required. A strategic perspective enables a separation of high-level logistics decisions from those that are operational in nature, in the same way that product platforms have assisted IHB. This separation is critical in overcoming the peculiarities of construction. This authors identify design-thinking as a powerful tool to assist in the future implementation of logistics strategy in order to drive the creation of contextually specific logistics solutions. Two company case studies from Sweden reveal two distinct forms of logistics strategy. These case studies, through comparative analysis, show how logistics strategies for IHB might emerge as design-led ‘logistics platforms’ that utilize the principles of standardization, modularity, and re-usability in order to achieve the flexibility demanded by construction. This paper proposes that a focus on IHB logistics strategy as a platform be implemented to allow effective integration of construction’s supply chain. The result of this approach is a re-usable, continually improving platform for construction logistics that can co-ordinate differing product and process approaches.
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