Cheaper construction with new logistics tool

A new analysis tool that can identify problems in the construction process has been developed by Micael Thunberg, doctoral student in construction logistics. By avoiding problems and delivering the right materials at the right place and at the right time, housing will become cheaper.

Previous studies carried out on construction sites in Sweden show that only about 15 minutes of each hour that a labourer works is spent on actual construction work. Logistics shortfalls mean that the greatest part of his time is spent waiting for, moving or looking for materials or correcting the effects of incorrect orders. In other words there is a great potential to increase efficiency through good construction logistics – getting the right materials to the right place at the right time.

Micael Thunberg“By identifying problems early on in the construction process, during the supply chain delivery of materials and equipment to the construction site, these problems can be remedied early, thus keeping costs down and building more efficiently,” says Mr Thunberg, doctoral student in construction logistics in the Division of Communication and Transport Systems, Linköping University, Campus Norrköping.

New tool called bSCOR

As part of his licentiate thesis he developed a tool with which construction companies, together with sub-contractors, suppliers and other entities get help with finding problems early and also to get an idea of how these will affect the overall construction project. The tool, called bSCOR (Builders Supply Chain Operations Reference Model), was developed during the project and is specially adapted for the construction branch.

Mr Thunberg’s licentiate thesis is one of the outcomes of the donation from the L. E. Lundberg Foundation for Research and Development that enabled the institution of a chair in construction logistics in late 2009. The aim of the donation was to develop a strong research arm in construction logistics at Linköping University; the research team currently comprises seven people, including four doctoral students.

ByggarbetsplatsGreat interest in Construction logistics

“Mr Thunberg’s thesis is the first from the team and it deals with one of the most neglected areas in construction logistics – the ability to map out and measure processes, which in turn is the basis of increased efficiency and productivity in the construction industry. The thesis is not only a landmark for Linköping University, but also for the opportunity to create a more efficient construction industry in Sweden,” says Professor Martin Rudberg, who is head of the construction logistics team.

A further two licentiate theses from the group will be presented soon: one in December 2013 regarding alternative transport solutions, and one in February 2014 concerning industrial construction.

Towards a Framework for Process Mapping and Performance Measurement in Construction Supply Chains, Micael Thunberg, Division of Communication and Transport Systems, Department of Science and Technology, Linköping University, 2013.
Construction Logistics at Linköping University

Large photo: iStockphoto

02 Dec 2013