SUPPLY CHAIN INNOVATIONS FOR DELIVERING SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION IN UNITED KINGDOM
This research study identifies the key elements, the drivers and barriers which impact on the innovative supply chain practices of the building products suppliers and therefore the sustainability of the UK construction Industry. In particular, sustainability continues to be an important thought for the UK construction industry materials/products suppliers. The study draws upon a number of literature themes such as product development, parameters of innovation, product innovation, rapid prototyping, collaboration, lean production practices, perspectives of supply chain; supply chain management, supply chain innovations, research and development; research and development; sustainability; sustainable construction; and benefits of sustainable construction to the environment. This study supported process of identifying different innovative supply chain practices in the building products manufacturers, a sub-sector contributing to the sustainability of the UK construction industry. Starting with the initial aim of exploring features that impact positively or negatively on innovation of supply chain practices and different theories, a number of frameworks as well as literature and approaches for innovative practices within the construction industry were reviewed. It is understood that the supply chain practices in the construction industry are integrative, interrelated and impacts the sustainability. Therefore it was important to further examine the industry supply chain relationships, the drivers of industry supply chain and impact on organisational performances. The building products manufacturers sub-sector within the UK construction industry is being transformed profoundly due to a number of factors including new products development, new markets, and increased environmental awareness, global reach of organisations and changing customer expectations as well as lifestyle; these companies are expected to consider sustainability and environmental issues while developing innovative supply chain strategies. The specifics include innovative issues around sourcing materials and products; the marketing and lifetime operations of construction industry initiatives; and even disposing construction wastes either from construction activities or at the terminal stage of construction products. iii From the relevant literature and contexts study of the UK construction industry, a theoretical framework was informed and questions for the survey were identified. For the questions raised and during the design of theoretical framework a mixed methods research methodology was adopted to collect quantitative data through a questionnaire and a case study. The quantitative data were analysed using SPSS software. Through the results from the data analysis, and interviews with the industry practitioners within the supply chain, a conceptual framework was developed and further adjusted to identify three core influencing groups of factors –company, industrial and regulatory; and further enhanced through the case study interviews. Finally, the interactions between these factors were focused on and the results used to articulate the research findings. This study confirmed that some of these organisations already had an excellent past experience of supply chain management and were informed of regulations affecting the UK construction industry. There is evidence that some of these organisations were leading in innovation of supply chain practices to enhance their competitiveness and therefore increase industry market share and profitability. This research proposes a new conceptual framework for the UK construction industry practitioners and makers. It is expected that it will motivate as well as aid the UK construction industry stakeholders to evaluate the existing innovative supply chain practices and therefore influence sustainability. It is further expected that this study will help the Industry players to better understand the importance of various sustainability drivers and the barriers which prevents adoption of innovative supply chain practices. Additionally, the results from the study will be used as motivators towards adopting innovative supply chain practices in the UK construction industry to improve sustainability.