Industry 4.0 Fostering Construction Supply Chain Management: Lessons Learned From Engineer-to-Order Suppliers
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Industry 4.0 will certainly transform the manufacturing industry but it will also have an impact on the construction industry and its connected supply chains. However, construction faces different problems than manufacturing. Often construction projects are highly customized, containing a significant numbers of engineer-to-order (ETO) components. ETO construction supplier companies consistently consist of off-site and on-site production elements. On-site construction processes are prone to high variability and unpredictability. This uncertainty makes supply chain synchronization for maintaining construction progress difficult. As a result, construction supply chains are characterized by high levels of intermediate buffers and long lead-times. We propose a variety of Industry 4.0 concepts to ameliorate these problems. Initial applications are identified from previous works. Additionally, we present some case studies for some lessons learned from the collaboration with ETO-companies. Seven action points in various applications of Industry 4.0 in the construction supply chain provide a guide to managers.