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Identifying enablers for coordination across construction supply chain processes: a systematic literature review

Qian Chen (Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, ETH Zurich Campus Honggerberg, Zurich, Switzerland)
Daniel Mark Hall (Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, ETH Zurich Campus Honggerberg, Zurich, Switzerland)
Bryan Tyrone Adey (Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, ETH Zurich Campus Honggerberg, Zurich, Switzerland)
Carl Thomas Haas (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 29 July 2020

Issue publication date: 28 April 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

Managing stakeholders' reciprocal interdependencies is always a challenging issue. Stakeholders need to find out different ways to communicate information and coordinate material flows during the supply chain processes. Many recent studies have advanced construction supply chain coordination from multiple perspectives. However, the field still lacks a comprehensive analysis to summarize existing research, to explicitly identify all the possible enablers for coordination and to investigate how the enablers can be carried out at the supply chain interfaces. To fill the gap, this study aims to conduct a systematic review in order to examine the relevant literature.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic literature review process was conducted to identify and synthesize relevant publications (published in the past 20 years) concerning the coordination of construction supply chain functions. These publications were coded to link main research findings with specific enabler categories. In addition, how these enablers can be used at the interfaces across supply chain processes was reviewed with an in-depth analysis of reciprocal communications between stakeholders at design-to-production, production-to-logistics and production-to-site-assembly phases.

Findings

The coordination enablers were classified into three categories: (1) contractual enablers (including subtopics on relational contracts and incentive models), (2) procedural enablers (including subtopics on multiagent knowledge sharing systems and the last planner system) and (3) technological enablers (including subtopics on linked databases for design coordination, design for manufacturing software platforms and automated monitoring technologies). It was found that interfacing different functions requires a certain level of integration of stakeholders for quick response and feedback processes. The integration of novel contractual forms with digital technologies, such as smart contracts, however, was not adequately addressed in the state of the art.

Research limitations/implications

The scope of the systematic review is limited to the static analysis of selected publications. Longitudinal studies should be further included to sharpen the inductions of enablers considering organizational changes and process dynamics in construction projects.

Practical implications

Different enablers for coordination were summarized in a concise manner, which provides researchers and project stakeholders with a reinforced understanding of various ways to manage reciprocal interdependencies at different supply chain interfaces.

Originality/value

This study constitutes an important input for research on the construction supply chain by illuminating the thematic topic of coordination from inductively developed review processes, which included a holistic framing of the emerging coordination enablers and their use across supply chain functions. Consequently, it closes some identified knowledge gaps and offers additional insights to improve the supply chain performance of construction projects.

Keywords

Citation

Chen, Q., Hall, D.M., Adey, B.T. and Haas, C.T. (2021), "Identifying enablers for coordination across construction supply chain processes: a systematic literature review", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 1083-1113. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-05-2020-0299

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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