The Construction Product Journey
The construction supply chain is a complex network with multiple stakeholders and requirements. The construction industry has to face the issue that every building and piece of infrastructure is different, requiring a unique set of supply requirements – a fact and a challenge acknowledged at governmental level.
In this blog, we are going to outline the challenges market actors face when dealing with the journey of constructions products through the supply chain.
The first challenge lies in the fact that each product is developed by a collection of designers, consultants, contractors, and whole tiers of other suppliers that may never have worked together before and may never work together in the same combination again. In information management terms, complexity is exacerbated by the different procurement systems and standards deployed by all the parties involved. All of these variables add up to increase risk and complexity. All are improved by more consistent, better information that can be accessed (and is universally used) at all points of the supply chain.
“Implementation of the golden thread will require individuals and organizations responsible for a building to have good information management systems and a clear understanding of how information management supports building safety. Going forward the information management for safety will need to be embedded across the sector.” — Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
In larger construction projects, some suppliers at the tail end of the chain may be completely unknown to organizations at the front end of the chain. This ‘disconnect’ poses challenges in terms of performance and responsibility throughout the supply chain. So, how are service level agreements (SLAs) structured through many tiers of subcontracting? First and second tier suppliers might typically sign up to fairly onerous agreements, but as the chain develops, so the contractual liabilities decrease (or may be less well-governed) – increasing supplier risk on standards, safety, and appropriate product usage towards the end of the chain. Good information flow and traceability around products – and their ‘journey’ from manufacturer to implementation - is one key way to mitigate this risk.
Clearly, the construction products ‘journey’ is often long and complex, containing several points where there is a risk of products being inappropriately applied. Inappropriate use of products can be very dangerous – to builders, installers, maintenance staff, and ultimately occupiers and users. In recent years, tragic failures in construction have brought the issue vividly into the public, parliamentary and regulatory eye – but the issue has been gradually mounting as all stakeholders have recognized the need for reform.
This blog is an excerpt from our whitepaper on Building Confidence, please download the full whitepaper to find out more about the importance of clear, accurate, and easily accessed product information.