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Partnering – a Way to Reach Resource-Efficient and Effective Road Infrastructure Projects through Increased Information and Knowledge Transfer?
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The construction industry is behind other industries when it comes to efficiency, and partnering has been discussed as a way to increase the cooperation in and technical performance of projects. For partnering to be successful several different aspects have to be in place, among them information sharing and trust. The objective is therefore to investigate implications of partnering as a way to reach more resource-efficient and effective road infrastructure projects through increased information and knowledge transfer.

The article investigates a road project realized using less time than estimated as well as achieving a lower total cost than budgeted. Partnering resulted in a close collaboration and increased trust among the actors, and the co-location of the actors led to the exchange of information and especially informal communication. Information was easily accessed and transferred between the actors, and the cooperation facilitated knowledge transfer between the different functions. This cut the lead times on information transfer and decision making, especially in the integrated construction and design phase, making the project more efficient. Also, solutions adapted for the site were chosen thanks to the active design approach. Instead of spending time on remaking poorly-adapted designs, time could be spent on other things, making the process more effective as well. The success of the project suggests that partnering could be a way forward in the road infrastructure industry. However, even more resource-efficient solutions could have been chosen if the project had a life-cycle perspective.

Keyword [en]
Buyer-supplier collaboration, partnering, resource efficiency, road infrastructure, knowledge transfer, information transfer
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-109979OAI: diva2:741939
Available from: 2014-08-29 Created: 2014-08-29 Last updated: 2015-01-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Integrated Product Service Offerings for Rail and Road Infrastructure: Reviewing Applicability in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Integrated Product Service Offerings for Rail and Road Infrastructure: Reviewing Applicability in Sweden
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This research aims to explore and propose a more effective management of rail and road infrastructure and the possibility of a more resource-efficient road and rail infrastructure by applying business models based on performance and a life-cycle perspective.

There is a lack of efficiency in the Swedish rail and road infrastructure industries - at the same time as the availability of the rail tracks and roads is essential. Rail and road infrastructure have long lifetimes, around 40-60 years, and during these decades regular maintenance and reconstruction are needed to ensure proper function. Large amounts of resources are required to construct the infrastructure, and the overall environmental pressure depends substantially on this.

This research is largely based on interviews conducted with the buyer, contractors and design consultants for rail and road infrastructure in Sweden. Literature reviews have been conducted to develop the framework needed to analyze the empirical findings. This research contributes by building on theory in areas such as Integrated Product Service Offerings (IPSOs) and eco-design, and this abstract presents a brief summary of the overall conclusions.

Several challenges for rail and road infrastructure in Sweden have been identified, such as the lack of information and knowledge transfer between different projects and actors. This is due to e.g. the use of traditional short-term contracts and conservative cooperate cultures, creating sub-optimizations in management. Increased collaboration, through e.g. partnering, seems to be a promising way to increase the information and knowledge transfer between actors by increasing trust and interaction. In this way, management would be more effective, and by involving contractors in the design phase, more efficient technical solutions could be developed and used. Additionally, increased involvement by the design consultants and an iterative information loop between design, construction and maintenance could also be beneficial. The research indicates that increased cooperation increases trust. In this way, there is a possibility to remove the detailed requirements that prevent new ways of working.

Rail and road infrastructure have characteristics, such as the resources used and the importance of availability, that are well-suited for IPSOs. This performance-based business model with a life-cycle perspective provides incentives to optimize the use of resources and provide a holistic view for management that is lacking today for rail and road infrastructure. However, a long-term contract such as an IPSO creates uncertainties. The actors are risk-averse, which is an obstacle in the development of new business models and contract forms. Most of the risks and uncertainties identified are due to lack of experience. This implies that an implementation of IPSOs will have a steep learning curve. Additionally, risk allocation between the actors is important for effective management: too much risk for the suppliers will make them reluctant in developing new solutions, and they will use a risk premium to cover up for the risk.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. 106 + Appendix 1 and 2 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1613
Integrated Product Service Offerings, Product Service Systems, long-term contracts, risk, life-cycle perspective, resource-efficiency
National Category
Environmental Sciences Infrastructure Engineering
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-110015 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-110015 (DOI)978-91-7519-260-4 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-09-19, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2014-09-01 Created: 2014-09-01 Last updated: 2014-09-04Bibliographically approved

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