Managing information flow in construction supply chains
Journal article, 2005
The purpose of this paper is to provide a better understanding of construction procurement within the supply chain management framework and develop a model for information flow. This paper adheres to the supply chain perspective and integration as theoretical point of departure, typically the role that information plays in a complex network such as construction procurement. The co-ordination within partners and the integration across partners are critical in effective project management. Sharing information is a key component for tight integration to optimize the chain-wide performance. It helps produce highest quality, low cost and minimum time to service. The tender offer from the procurer or invitation from a supplier triggers the requirement process. In response to the requirements there has to be an opposite flow of information, termed the fulfilment flow in the model described. The requirement information from a procurer is broken down to the project requirements for various partners in the project. Once the supply chain is identified in the postcontracting phase, information regarding specific tasks, materials, and so on, are communicated to the project partners. Information must be managed to bring in value. The quality of information received, the timeliness of the manner it is received and the cost-effectiveness in obtaining the information determine the efficiency of a project partner. Another classification considered is that of the changing role of the partner with regard to information handling, i.e., the project partner as a recipient, decision-maker and communicator of information. All these factors jointly contribute to increasing efficiency in construction procurement. This framework needs to be explored in future research to define subsequent steps in construction supply chain management, as the challenge is to adapt a totally integrated supply chain.