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Content archived on 2024-05-07

Computer supported co-co-operative construction management


The building industry is one of the most significant industries in Europe, representing about half of the total investment made within the European Union. Most companies are SMEs - prospering traditional workshops about to conquer new markets. Up to now, the construction area is well known for its insecurities in planning and budgeting any given project. Very seldom a project in the building industry is completed within the originally given framework concerning time and money. These problems are constantly gaining additional relevance as all EU member countries are being fused into one "home market" and - in a broader perspective -the European building industry is facing further competition on the global market. Especially small- and medium-sized companies will face difficulties in their attempts to exploit the market potential. Being competitive in this context requires both optimised organisational structures as well as computerised tools for efficient operation and co-operation.

The objective of CSCCM is to demonstrate how modern IT-based management and co-operation techniques can be applied in SMEs of the construction sector to optimise their production processes in terms of manpower, time, quality and thereby increase their competitiveness on the international market. Within the project, a pilot company will be re-engineered and its co-operation with two of their business partners optimised, addressing both the supply and support chains. Thus, the project will deal with:
- business methodologies to be applied, such as business process re-engineering and benchmarking,
- organisational changes, like the introduction of teamwork and international co-operation,
- advanced information technologies to be developed based on the adaptation of existing software packages and their integration into existing business environments,
- development and qualification of human resources enabling them to cope with the challenges of international co-operation and efficient use of information technology.

These concepts have a generic character and will also be valuable for multiple company chains in the construction area. Starting with an analysis of the as-is business processes at the industrial partners' sites, requirements regarding an optimised to-be situation will be defined and requisites for a computerised tool set specified. Subsequently, existing business applications used by the industrial partners will be analysed; software packages available on the market will be investigated regarding their applicability for the defined purpose.

A concept of a modular tool set is being applied, aiming at adapting and integrating existing software packages rather than programming a solution from scratch. The solution will be adapted to the specific requirements of the companies involved in the project. It will be implemented, tested and evaluated under industrial conditions. Based on end user feedback, an improved solution will be developed.

The results of CSCCM will include a generic set of software tools to support the re-engineering of industrial end users. The major strengths of the CSCCM system can be summarised as follows:
- Shortening the time to product/market for the whole construction chain;
- Improvement of planning, management and documentation quality;
- Improvement of reliability, while increasing the planning flexibility;
- Enhancement of cross-functional aspects of all activities within the construction process;
- Possibility, through encapsulation techniques, to integrate existing systems already in operation and later extensions;
- Flexibility and configurability, i.e. the modules can be individually adapted to company or country specific needs.

To reach these goals, the project brings in the expertise of the construction area through a software house and an industrial research institute who have been heavily involved in developing management, quality and control systems for the manufacturing industries. The involved end users will demonstrate the solution under real working conditions and thereby increase their overall production efficiency. The research partner will manage the dissemination through publications, books, presentations and the organisation of an international workshop. The involved software houses will commercialise the system for the European market.

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Via De Viti De Marco 50
00191 Roma

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Participants (5)