Beyond the Design Fix - New Industrialisation in Contractor’s Supplier Relationships
Paper in proceedings, 2010
In striving for increased efficiency in service delivery the AEC-sector is currently attempting to introduce industrialisation, mainly in the form of design and production concepts such as mass configurated “systems” such as bungalows. There is thus a tendency to focus steps in direction of “new industrialisation” at design efforts for limited areas of mainstream construction. Mainstream construction seem however to move a lot slower in this direction, having to appreciate the complexity of the delivery and only using sub-systems deliveries in restricted areas. This paper therefore aims at analysing the needed transformation of supply deliveries, when attempting gradually to move in a systems delivery direction. Theoretically the paper is based on a multidisciplinary approach understanding supply relations, purchasing and management as negotiated and emergent. Based on a four country study funded by the Erabuild program, this paper presents 3 cases of long term transformation of contractor- supplier relations as general contractors outsource and commence professionalising purchasing moving it from project purchasing into strategic purchasing. It is suggested that “new industrialisation” is a long term transformation rather than a quick design fix, appreciating the vulnerabilities of delivery relations and coordination issues. Especially using defects and quality issues as “litmus” for the well functioning of the supply chain. Implications for future relationship management and supplier transformation is given.