Efficiency Versus Effectiveness in Construction Supply Chains - The Dangers of Lean Thinking in Isolation

Fearne, Andrew and Fowler, Nicholas (2006) Efficiency Versus Effectiveness in Construction Supply Chains - The Dangers of Lean Thinking in Isolation. In: 3rd European Forum on Market-Driven Supply Chains - European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management, Brussels, Belgium. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Purpose - To illustrate the potential danger of applying "lean thinking" discretely and indiscriminantly in a project environment with high levels of complexity and uncertainty. Design/methodology/approach - Insights are presented from two case studies of private residential construction projects which the authors believe are indicative of recent efforts to reduce the cost of construction activities. Findings - Evidence was found of attempts to remove capacity in transportation, stockholding and on-site labour. Some of these attempts were logical and resulted in cost-savings but others were illogical and resulted in reduced levels of responsiveness and flexibility to respond to the uncertainty which is a characteristic of most construction projects. Research limitations/implications - Further research is required to quantify the impact of discrete improvements in functional aspects of supply chain projects and the conditions in which lean thinking can be put to best effect. Practical implications - Firms operating in the construction sector need to pay greater attention to the impact on the effectiveness of supply chain projects of achieving cost savings in discrete activities. Originality/value - This paper challenges conventional thinking with respect to the application of lean principles to the construction industry and calls for greater awareness of the project-centric nature of the construction industry and the application of lean thinking therein.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Business School
Depositing User: Andrew Fearne
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2008 13:00
Last Modified: 06 May 2014 14:11
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/11855 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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