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An examination of a modular supply chain: a construction sector perspective

Des Doran (Brunel Business School, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK)
Mihalis Giannakis (Warwick Business School, The University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 21 June 2011




This paper aims to present research which explores the application of modular practices and principles within a construction sector supply chain to demonstrate the degree to which supply chain practices are aligned with modular construction.


The paper uses an exploratory case study approach to examine a construction supply chain from module manufacturer through to module client. Each member of the supply chain was involved in the provision of a modular hospital in the United Kingdom.


The findings suggest that there is a need to increase supply chain integration to ensure that modular solutions can compete more effectively with traditional, on‐site solutions and overcome some of the negative attributes associated with modular buildings.

Research limitations/implications

The study has focused on the key stages of a modular supply chain in order to identify the application of supply chain practices within the context of modular operations. Suppliers need to balance the inherent limitations associated with modular product architecture with the increasing needs of module clients for more bespoke modular solutions.

Practical implications

The paper provides useful insights into the dynamics of modular supply chain operations, which illustrate the difficulties associated with integrating modular operations and competing with the traditional on‐site construction, which currently dominates the sector.


The main theoretical argument put forward in this paper centres on the need for greater levels of supplier integration amongst suppliers to the modular construction industry. The study is one of the first to explore supply chain integration through the lens of a single modular supply chain and contributes to knowledge in this growing area through the development of a number of tools to position potential and current module suppliers.



Doran, D. and Giannakis, M. (2011), "An examination of a modular supply chain: a construction sector perspective", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 260-270.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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