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BIM-enabled Kanban system in construction logistics for real-time demand reporting and pull replenishment

Ningshuang Zeng (School of Civil Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China)
Xuling Ye (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany)
Yan Liu (School of Management and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China)
Markus König (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 6 March 2023




The unstable labor productivity and periodic planning method cause barriers to improving construction logistics management. This paper aims to explore a demand-driven mechanism for efficient construction logistics planning to record the material consumption, report the real-time demand and trigger material replenishment from off-site to on-site, which is aided by Building Information Modeling (BIM) and the Kanban technique.


This paper follows the design science research (DSR) principles to propose a system of designing and applying Kanban batch with 4D BIM for construction logistics planning and monitoring. Prototype development with comparative simulation experiments of a river remediation project is conducted to analyze the conventional and Kanban-triggered supply. Two-staged industrial interviews are conducted to guide and evaluate the system design.


The proposed BIM-enabled Kanban system enables construction managers and suppliers to better set integrated on- and off-site targets, report real-time demands and conduct collaborative planning and monitoring. The simulation results present significant site storage and schedule savings applying the BIM-enabled Kanban system. Feedback and constructive suggestions from practitioners are collected via interviews and analyzed for further development.


This paper brings to the limelight the benefits of implementing BIM-enabled demand-driven replenishment to remove waste from the material flow. This paper combines lean production theory with advanced information technology to solve construction logistics management problems.



This work was funded by the European Commission-funded project “BIM2TWIN: Optimal Construction Management and Production Control” (No. 958398) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51978164, 71732003 and 72201125) This work was supported by the Jiangsu Funding Program for Excellent Postdoctoral Talents and the Yuxiu Young Scholars Program of Nanjing University.


Zeng, N., Ye, X., Liu, Y. and König, M. (2023), "BIM-enabled Kanban system in construction logistics for real-time demand reporting and pull replenishment", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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