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School of the Built Environment
Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to consider the applicability of logistics management in construction and facilitate a better understanding of construction supply chains by studying the logistical functions of builders' merchants. Design/methodology/approach - Given that logistics application in construction is still in its infancy, conceptual understanding of the problem is a prerequisite. Thus, a grounded theory approach is followed utilising pre-existing data as a means of building a model faithful to evidence. The model is analysed by following a discrete-event simulation modelling approach. Findings - This research demonstrates that examining supply chains from a logistics viewpoint can provide significant insight into the performance of construction supply chains. The analysis also shows that logistics costs are exponentially related to the levels of material demand and number of vehicle movements. Research limitations/implications - The developed model has to be further investigated and tested for different scenarios. Supplementary refinements of the model are necessary in order to allow the generalisation of the results and the development of an analytical planning tool. Practical implications - This research illustrates the increased potential of construction for benefiting from an improved capability within logistics which can lead to further developments within the field of logistics in the industry. Originality/value - This paper considers the significant function of builders' merchants in the supply chains in order to balance the contractor-centric research efforts that dominate existing literature and take into consideration the holistic nature of supply chain management and its operational aspects.
Purpose. The purpose of this paper is to present a logistical analysis of construction supply chains by assessing the impact of varying demand on the performance of builders' merchants' logistics. Design/methodology/approach. Taking into consideration that the vast majority of construction materials are distributed through intermediary organisations, the paper focuses on the logistics of builders' merchants. The study follows a field study approach to develop a conceptual logistics model facilitating experimentation using simulation modelling. Findings. The paper highlights the importance of incorporating intermediary organisations in the study of construction supply chains and reveals the implications of varying demand on logistics performance related to inventory and transportation costs. Research limitations/implications. In order to limit assumptions associated with individual company characteristics, the sample has included data from one builder's merchant company. To allow external benchmarking, the suggested approach has to be applied to a wider sample. Practical implications. The paper provides a practical understanding in terms of the function of intermediary organisations in construction supply chains and the application of logistics management in construction. Originality/value. Considering the complexity involved in construction supply chain operations, the value of this research is twofold. First, the research contributes to an interdisciplinary approach to the study of construction supply chains and second, provides a risk-free environment for modelling supply chain cost performance.