Developments in construction supply chain management: The impact on people and cultural change
Abstract Supply chain management in the UK construction industry is a relatively recent phenomenon, presenting interesting challenges to the embedded cultural norms, inter-organisational relationships and individual behaviour patterns. The growing trend for contractors and clients to embark on strategic relationships aimed at improving efficiency, effectiveness and risk management are examined. Such strategic developments between the primary supply chain members can provide a number of benefits for both the client and the primary contractor organisations alike. They may also pose unique difficulties for the primary members as well as the sub-contracting organisations. A review of the key professional/practitioner and academic literature provides the basis for the development of a conceptual model of the partnering relationship. The central features of this model are examined through a case-based empirical approach involving two major contracting organisations and a blue-chip client. Conclusions are drawn about the implications for supply chain management within the construction industry at the strategic and operational levels. The impact on the cultural norms, behaviour and practices are examined and the actions taken to overcome such potential barriers to successful implementation are evaluated. The consequent strategic development from partnering to the lead supply chain management role associated with ‘Prime Contracting’ is examined in the light of the evidence, including the impact of this change for both the industry’s and the client’s personnel.