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Innovation 1: smart building logistics

This concept Smart Building Logistics aims to use an inner city construction site as efficiently as possible whereby as little storage as possible takes place on the construction site. In order to achieve this, RFID technology is used and distribution centres are set up around the centre of the city where suppliers deliver their material and from where the city centre can be supplied.

Setting up such distribution centres enables reliable planning of the (grouped) transport of construction materials to the inner city and so prevents problems delivering or transporting material. Delivery can for example take place at times of the day when the roads are less busy. The contractor will be more likely to stock up with extra raw materials that are critical for the continuation of the construction project. These stocks are in the distribution centres. Also setting up the distribution centres jointly for several construction projects makes it possible to keep total stocks and costs low. Containers filled with the correct material produced on a certain day and material can be transported daily to the construction site.

A distribution centre can also be used for processing return flows. Construction projects indeed involve the disposal of large amounts of materials. Fast disposal of waste, unused and wrong material reduces the need for space on the construction site. Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology enables automated tracking of building materials in construction supply chains. RFID makes information related to building materials readily available to the persons handling these materials and has supports in this way a further optimization of construction supply chains.

It is also possible to choose other forms of transport of construction materials as well as the choice of the location of stock items. A known example of this is the construction of the North-South line, a new metro line in Amsterdam. Concrete elements were transported for this via ships to the construction site.

Further reading

Voordijk, J.T. (2010) Physical Distribution Costs in Construction Supply Chains: A Systems Approach. International Journal of Logistics System and Management 7(4), 456-471.

Jaselskis, E. J., & El-Misalami, T. (2003). Implementing radio frequency identification in the construction process. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 129(6), 680-688.

Voordijk, H. (2000) The Changing Logistical System of the Building Materials Supply Chain. International Journal of Operations and Production Management 20(7), 823-841.

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