Material Flows Incurred by Activities at Project Sites
Doctoral thesis, 2007
The execution of numerous projects is dependent on the movement of large quantities of heterogeneous material to and from project sites. This has to be done in a timely manner to successfully produce desired outputs, e.g. buildings, concerts, peacekeeping operations and sport events. Considerable logistics challenges are thus associated with activities undertaken at project sites and so far limited knowledge exists of the nature of these challenges and how they are managed by involved organizations.
To facilitate further development of theory and practice, the purpose of this thesis is therefore to explore characteristics of material flows incurred by activities at project sites and how these flows are managed. This is to result in the development of a model which highlights projects and the context they operate in from a logistics perspective.
To develop this model, multiple case studies have been conducted and analysed using literature from the areas of logistics, project management and organizational theories. Research has predominantly been inductive in nature and empirical data has been collected through interviews, site-observations and documents. Aspects that have been explored are similarities and differences between temporary organizations in how they access and manage resources as well as how they divide responsibility for logistics activities. Additionally, the coordination of material flows to and from project sites has been investigated and the characteristics of these flows have been explored.
The model developed in the study consists of four components. The components are: the task to be carried out in a project, the temporary organization formed to carry out the task, the supply network formed to provide the temporary organization with resources and the material flows incurred by activities at project sites. The model highlights similarities, differences and important challenges found in the way material flows incurred by activities at project sites are managed in the studied projects. It also pinpoints some of the unique characteristics associated with these material flows. By providing a synthesis of the findings from the study, the model contributes to facilitate the transfer of the results to researchers and practitioners. However, many aspects of the subject in focus in this thesis still need to be further explored. Suggestions for further research are thus given.
Vasa C, Vera Sandbergs Allé 8
Opponent: Prof. Karen Spens, Supply Chain Management and Corporate Geography, Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Helsingfors, Finland