Using information and communication technology to facilitate supply chain management in the New Zealand construction industry
The New Zealand construction supply chain today is inefficient. From a literature review it is found that non value adding activities including waste of time and materials are caused by islands of information with ineffective communication between supply chain participants. This represents an opportunity for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to provide a strategic supply chain management model for the industry enabling interaction and shared information between all parties. To evaluate the performance of ICTs in the New Zealand construction supply chain, this thesis uses as a case study newly launched software---BlueSky. BlueSky was developed by the Building Integration Software Company located in AUT Technical Park. BlueSky was designed to integrate the fragments of the current information flow of the chain from architect through to the end property owner. Supporting Data was gathered by distributing a structured questionnaire designed to find the opportunities and inhibitors for utilizing ICTs to facilitate the synthesis of the chain. 200 responses were received. The study was funded by a TEC grant. The BlueSky case study is based on two pilot sites; one is an architectural design company and the other is a master contractor company in Auckland. The case study also evaluated the potential problems which may bring risks to supply chain members and provide possible recommendations for future research. The study found from the results of the questionnaire that a significant shift in the mindset of participants of the supply chain will be necessary in terms of collaboration and team work if mutual benefits are to be achieved. It is found that in the two pilot sites BlueSky did make a significant difference in terms of reduced cost, accuracy of information, improved documentation management, and overall increased speed and clarity of information. In the wider community of the industry as a whole considerable education is needed to break down mistrust between members. In general each member appears to be determined to secure the best result as individuals rather than considering the overall outcome for the whole chain. This reluctance to co-operate is coupled with a reluctance to utilize ICTs. Recommendations are made to overcome this mindset.