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Continuous improvement of the industrialised housebuilding order fulfilment process

Wolfgang Grenzfurtner (Institute of Production and Logistics, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria)
Manfred Gronalt (Institute of Production and Logistics, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria)

Construction Innovation

ISSN: 1471-4175

Article publication date: 30 June 2020

Issue publication date: 4 January 2021




A deeper understanding of what needs to be considered to improve the targeted incorporation of employees’ knowledge into continuous improvement (CI) programmes in industrialised housebuilding (IHB) is required. This paper aims to address the current lack of involvement and connect it to structural and corporate culture factors. To avoid misjudgements in improvement activities as well as to use the full potential of performance improvement ideas, CI tools and measures need to be adapted to facilitate this integration. Relevant factors are analysed and their influences on CI measures are assessed.


The research approach is built upon an explorative case study supported by a comprehensive literature review. Empirical data were collected through participant observation, guided interviews and company documents.


The influences on employee involvement within CI programmes and the corresponding suitability of important CI measures were evaluated on a set of relevant factors. These factors include unique building projects, project-based focus on order fulfilment, fragmented order fulfilment process, separation of order fulfilment activities in terms of space and time, procedural rules for dealing with on-site failures, short-term contracts with subcontractors and the practice of evaluating and monitoring performance on site.

Research limitations/implications

The research paves the way for the development of suitable tools, measures and methods to effectively involve employees from all profession within a CI programme in IHB. The empirical part of this research is based on a single case study.


This work extends the body of knowledge of CI application in the construction industry with an analysis of factors influencing its implementation and management.



The authors would like to express our gratitude to the guest editors Prof Mohammed Arif and Prof Jack Goulding, the unknown reviewers and our proofreader Roger Terry for their support during the review process and their valuable suggestions that have helped to improve the quality of the paper. They would also like to thank the industrial partner and its employees for the good cooperation and the time spent.

The project was funded by the industrial partner, who wishes not to be identified by name.


Grenzfurtner, W. and Gronalt, M. (2021), "Continuous improvement of the industrialised housebuilding order fulfilment process", Construction Innovation, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 22-39.



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