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Projecting at the project-level: MMC supply chain integration roadmap for small housebuilders

Dowsett, R., Green, M., Sexton, M. and Harty, C. (2019) Projecting at the project-level: MMC supply chain integration roadmap for small housebuilders. Construction Innovation: Information, Process, Management, 19 (2). pp. 193-211. ISSN 1471-4175

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1108/CI-07-2017-0059

Abstract/Summary

This paper provides insights into how supply chain integration may occur for small housebuilders adopting Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). The process of creating an empirically informed road map is described whereby the practical day-to-day challenges of adopting a timber-frame solution on a small housing development in South East England were fed into a road map of future supply chain integration scenarios. The intention is to better position small housebuilders to contribute in addressing the shortfall in housing that continues to face the UK. Interviews with supply chain members along with on-site observations captured key aspects of integration. Findings were used within two collaborative forums to guide discussion in a dual approach; discussing the challenges of timber-frame on the project, and what would be needed on future projects for the firms analysed. Empirically informed malleable roadmaps, of the kind developed within this study, provide feasible options for small house builders and suppliers of MMC to collectively collaborate when transitioning toward fully integrated supply chains. Practically, the roadmapping approach, and the roadmap itself, would help small house builders and suppliers of MMCs transition towards full integration. Opening up avenues of integration that are spread across yet connected through numerous phases, firms, and technologies helps construction professionals use more sophisticated modular and volumetric off-site solutions. Data collection took place over the course of a year. Future research could expand this relatively short duration in order to analyse the potential for construction professionals within the supply chain to integrate further over a longer period of time. The novelty and contribution of this paper lie in the development and application of an alternative approach to roadmapping that departs from the normative linear examples of roadmaps found within the technology-roadmapping (TRM) literature. We present a structured yet flexible approach to roadmapping that is both representative of the strategic planning and innovation activities that occur within small housebuilding firms, and open to adaption in order to account for firm level characteristics and contingencies. Positioned alongside firm-level dynamics (e.g. business cases and approaches to design) the roadmapping approach also reinforces the potential of incremental rather than whole-scale transitions.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of the Built Environment > Construction Management and Engineering > Business Innovation in Construction
Faculty of Science > School of the Built Environment > Construction Management and Engineering > Innovative and Sustainable Technologies
ID Code:83384
Publisher:Emerald Publishing Limited

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