Just-in-Time Concrete Delivery: Mapping Alternatives for Vertical Supply Chain Integration
JUST-IN-TIME CONCRETE DELIVERY:
FOR VERTICAL SUPPLY CHAIN INTEGRATION
Iris D. Tommelein
and Annie En Yi Li
This paper explains concepts underlying a just-in-time production system. Just-in-time
production systems as implemented by Toyota are pull systems in which ‘kanban’ convey the
need to replenish the right inventory at the right time and in the right amount. In this paper,
symbols from manufacturing are introduced to map resource flows in order to help
distinguish traditional- from lean production processes. These symbols are then applied to
construction. Ready-mix concrete provides a prototypical example of a just-in-time
construction process. Ready-mix concrete is a perishable commodity, batched to
specifications upon customer demand. This makes just-in-time delivery necessary. Based on
data from industry case studies, alternative forms of vertical supply chain integration were
investigated. The most common one is where the batch plant also delivers the mix to the
contractor’s project site. An alternative is for the contractor to haul the mix from the batch
plant to the project site with their own revolving-drum trucks. One alternative is favored over
the other depending on the amount of control the contractor wants in terms of on-time site
delivery of concrete and the variability in the contractor’s demand for concrete project after
project. Insights can be gained from these two examples on how the construction industry has
adopted a just-in-time production system for at least one part of the concrete supply chain.
The examples provided will help the reader think through issues pertaining to the need for
having information, materials, and time buffers at strategic locations in construction
Supply-chain mapping, vertical supply-chain integration, ready-mix concrete, pull-driven
scheduling, just in time, JIT, kanban, lean construction.
Associate Professor, Constr. Engr. and Mgmt. Program, Civil and Envir. Engrg.
Department, 215-A McLaughlin Hall, Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1712,
510/643-8678, FAX 510/643-8919, email@example.com
Senior (B.S. Degree), Constr. Engr. and Mgmt. Program, Civil and Envir. Engrg.
Department, 215-A McLaughlin Hall, Univ. of Calif., Berkeley, CA 94720-1712,