Current condition and future directions for lean construction in highways projects: A small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) perspective

Algan Tezel, Lauri Koskela, Zeeshan Aziz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The aim of this study is to identify the parameters defining how Lean Construction (LC) is being implemented (current condition) and how LC can be further promoted (future direction) from a Small-Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) perspective. Although SMEs constitute the largest group in construction supply chains, LC, as an emerging phenomenon in civil construction project management, has been rarely investigated from an SMEs perspective. Also, overlooking the more macro factors like project governance and supply chain management, LC deployments have been mainly discussed from a production process perspective to date. After a review of the extant literature and 20 interviews with managers from the highways sector, a list of 31 current condition and 40 future direction statements were produced, classified under the delivery, process, training, project governance and supply chain related headings and used in a questionnaire survey with 110 responses. The current condition highlights problems like a short-term relations structure, competitive tendering mechanisms, fragmentation, problems in engaging with SMEs for LC, unstandardised LC techniques, and issues with convincing SMEs to deploy LC by demonstrating the business case on mutual benefits. Action items relating to the current project delivery structure were given the highest importance by the supply chain, alongside the LC training and project governance issues for the future of LC at highways SMEs. Additionally, a statistically significant correlation was identified among many future action items.
LanguageEnglish
Pages267-286
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Volume36
Issue number2
Early online date15 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

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Industry
Supply chains
Future directions
Small and medium-sized enterprises
Lean construction
Supply chain management
Project management
Macros
Managers
Supply chain
Project governance

Cite this

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title = "Current condition and future directions for lean construction in highways projects: A small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) perspective",
abstract = "The aim of this study is to identify the parameters defining how Lean Construction (LC) is being implemented (current condition) and how LC can be further promoted (future direction) from a Small-Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) perspective. Although SMEs constitute the largest group in construction supply chains, LC, as an emerging phenomenon in civil construction project management, has been rarely investigated from an SMEs perspective. Also, overlooking the more macro factors like project governance and supply chain management, LC deployments have been mainly discussed from a production process perspective to date. After a review of the extant literature and 20 interviews with managers from the highways sector, a list of 31 current condition and 40 future direction statements were produced, classified under the delivery, process, training, project governance and supply chain related headings and used in a questionnaire survey with 110 responses. The current condition highlights problems like a short-term relations structure, competitive tendering mechanisms, fragmentation, problems in engaging with SMEs for LC, unstandardised LC techniques, and issues with convincing SMEs to deploy LC by demonstrating the business case on mutual benefits. Action items relating to the current project delivery structure were given the highest importance by the supply chain, alongside the LC training and project governance issues for the future of LC at highways SMEs. Additionally, a statistically significant correlation was identified among many future action items.",
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AB - The aim of this study is to identify the parameters defining how Lean Construction (LC) is being implemented (current condition) and how LC can be further promoted (future direction) from a Small-Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) perspective. Although SMEs constitute the largest group in construction supply chains, LC, as an emerging phenomenon in civil construction project management, has been rarely investigated from an SMEs perspective. Also, overlooking the more macro factors like project governance and supply chain management, LC deployments have been mainly discussed from a production process perspective to date. After a review of the extant literature and 20 interviews with managers from the highways sector, a list of 31 current condition and 40 future direction statements were produced, classified under the delivery, process, training, project governance and supply chain related headings and used in a questionnaire survey with 110 responses. The current condition highlights problems like a short-term relations structure, competitive tendering mechanisms, fragmentation, problems in engaging with SMEs for LC, unstandardised LC techniques, and issues with convincing SMEs to deploy LC by demonstrating the business case on mutual benefits. Action items relating to the current project delivery structure were given the highest importance by the supply chain, alongside the LC training and project governance issues for the future of LC at highways SMEs. Additionally, a statistically significant correlation was identified among many future action items.

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