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Developing a continuous improvement perspective for subcontractor involvement in the industrialised housebuilding supply chain

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)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 10 November 2020

Issue publication date: 10 February 2021

418

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify those factors, which will improve the collaboration between industrialised housebuilding (IHB) companies and their subcontractors within continuous improvement (CI) programmes. These factors will enhance the supply chain (SC) efficiency and productivity, eliminating obstacles when designing, implementing and managing CI programmes within IHB SC.

Design/methodology/approach

An explorative case study with a mixed-method approach was conducted within an IHB SC. To collect data, participant observation and guided interviews were applied. A stakeholder analysis was conducted to structure their guiding principles. A causal loop diagram (CLD) analysis was used to model the effects on and relationships within a SC and their impact on the involvement of subcontractors.

Findings

The influences on the stakeholders and the guidelines under which they work are defined. Potential conflicts of interest between stakeholders are identified. A CLD is used to model a better understanding of system behaviour impacting on the relationships within the SC and on subcontractor involvement. The results provide a number of factors that need to be considered when designing, implementing and managing a CI programme.

Research limitations/implications

The research suggests better ways to use subcontractors’ specific knowledge of on-site processes such that productivity and efficiency are enhanced. Improvements within the construction supply chain (CSC) will, in the future, not be limited to small improvement gains at company level.

Originality/value

This paper extends the body of knowledge in CSC management by revealing factors important for designing, implementing and managing CI programmes, which enables the successful involvement of subcontractors in CI on SC level.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the editor Prof Beverly Wagner, the unknown reviewers and proofreader Roger Terry for their valuable suggestions that helped to improve the quality of the paper. The authors would also like to thank the industry partner as well as their employees, suppliers and subcontractors for the good cooperation and the time spent.

Citation

Grenzfurtner, W. and Gronalt, M. (2021), "Developing a continuous improvement perspective for subcontractor involvement in the industrialised housebuilding supply chain", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 174-191. https://doi.org/10.1108/SCM-12-2019-0435

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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