A systematic approach for improving construction materials logistics
In the 1990s, the UK construction industry directed considerable effort at improving productivity and reducing costs by harmonising relationships among clients, contractors, sub-contractors, specialist contractors and designers. Opportunities to accrue further benefits should be explored and capitalised upon from all areas of construction projects. Management of construction materials on well grounded logistics and supply chain management principles has the potential to yield results and augment efforts being made in other areas at making construction more efficient. The overall aim of this thesis was to develop a systematic supplier management decision-support process model that contractors can use for both short and long-term management of suppliers in the implementation of construction materials supply logistics. Such a process model would benefit construction companies by identifying essential elements that lead to improved supply of construction materials. The research findings were based upon a literature survey, two `minor-image' questionnaires (one sent to 71 UK contractors and the other to 76 UK construction materials suppliers); structured interviews with nine UK contractors and five UK construction materials suppliers; and a supplier management process model validation exercise with six UK contractors. From these, the research produced the following outcomes: systematic supplier management decision-support process map that contractors can use for short and long-term management of suppliers in the implementation of construction materials supply logistics; an understanding of the supply of construction materials into construction processes from the wider perspective of logistics and supply chain management as opposed to traditional materials management; the identification of the performance indicators against which the performance of suppliers can be evaluated and the quantification of the relative contribution of the performance indicators to improvements in customer service; the identification of factors which enable suppliers to improve levels of customer service and quantification of the relative extent to which the factors enable suppliers to contribute to improvements in their levels of customer service in the delivery of construction materials; identification of the extent to which both performance indicators and enablers were used in supplier evaluation and selection; evaluation and comparison of the extent to which contractors and suppliers used information and communication technologies in internal and external materials supply logistics processes; and evaluation of the nature of relationships between contractors and suppliers.