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Supply chains in the construction industry

Anders Segerstedt (Industrial Logistics, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden, and IBDK, Narvik University College, Narvik, Norway)
Thomas Olofsson (Construction Engineering and Management, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 10 August 2010




The purpose of this paper is to introduce a special issue about the construction industry and the management of its supply chains. It aims to discuss and point to some differences and possible similarities with traditional manufacturing and its supply chains.


The paper is mostly a literature review and contains official statistics.


The market of the construction company is mostly local and highly volatile. The long durability of the construction “product” contributes to the volatility. The product specification process before the customer order arrives shows different degrees of specifications: engineer to order, modify to order, configure to order, select a variant. (The common make‐to‐stock in traditional manufacturing does not exist.) A construction company only executes a small part of the project by its own personnel and capacity. This is a way of risk spreading and risk mitigation and to compensate for an unstable market. If a construction company wants to establish a new concept, from “engineer to order” to e.g. “configure to order”, it must be engaged earlier in the business process and with other than usual customers, which might complicate the process.

Research limitations/implications

Experiences from Sweden and Swedish developments are the main source of information.


The paper introduces the articles that are a source of scientifically generated knowledge regarding various problems and opportunities associated with supply chain management in the project‐based construction industry.



Segerstedt, A. and Olofsson, T. (2010), "Supply chains in the construction industry", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 15 No. 5, pp. 347-353.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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