de Souza, Diego Vinicius Souza and Koskela, Lauri (2014) Interfaces, Flows, and Problems of Construction Supply Chains – A Case Study in Brazil. In: Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. IGLC 2014, 3 . International Group for Lean Construction, Oslo, Norway, pp. 1095-1108. ISBN 978-82-321-0459-8

This research investigates the interfaces, flows, and problems of construction supply
chains in the infrastructure sector. The discussion focuses on how construction
companies should manage different interfaces between suppliers and project sites, not
only from a temporary project perspective but also from a long-term enterprise
viewpoint. Such interfaces are studied according to the flows of information, capital,
and materials connecting the different parties in supply chains. In this context, a
framework comprising interfaces and flows is developed. Based on such framework,
problems of construction supply chains are identified and positioned accordingly.
Therefore, the main purpose of this paper is to develop and implement a framework
for addressing interfaces, flows, and problems of construction supply chains.
This underlying research was developed in a Brazilian contractor, responsible for
infrastructure projects such as tunnelling, earthworks, and highways construction. In
addition, eleven of its suppliers were included in the empirical investigation. Data has
been collected in semi-structured interviews, meetings, collection and analysis of
documents, observation of meetings, workshops, site visits, and from the company’s
ERP database. It was found a lack of awareness regarding the existence of the
abovementioned supply chains’ interfaces and flows, the root causes of supply chain
problems, and the implications of supply chain issues in project delivery. This
research has two limitations: was developed in the context of infrastructure projects
and investigates a single case-study. Implications from this paper are directed to the
research field of frameworks for managing construction supply chains.