Integrated decision-making in the cladding supply chain

  • Qiang Du

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The cladding industry is relatively independent and complex, having contemporary features in a rapidly changing sector of the construction industry. The increasing complexity of the cladding procurement and fragmentation of the supply chain bring challenges for making informed decisions. The purpose of this research was to study the cladding design and procurement process, in particular the decision making process. It was hoped to develop an integrated decision making mechanism within the context of the cladding supply chain. Based on preliminary exploration, a conceptual model of integrated communication and decision-making (ICDM) was proposed. Within this model, an Information and Communication (I&C) Hub acts as the pivotal platform of the information supply and communication in the supply chain and is managed by an industry level third party. It provides an effective and secure approach to information exchange and collaborative decision making. A questionnaire survey was the key method of this research, while industry meetings and informal interviews were employed to provide in-depth understanding of the communication related issues in the industry. It was found that the participants of the cladding supply chain were experiencing difficulties of identifying information sources and accessing information, and that an industry level third party acting as an independent information source could be accepted by the cladding industry. Therefore, the I&C Hub gained its necessity and partial feasibility. It was also found that training opportunity for practitioners was limited and the usage of ICT had a large potential for improvement. A number of modifications on the I&C Hub and information flows within the ICDM were proposed to enhance its practicality, and the enhanced model was presented and evaluated by an industry meeting. The conceptual model can only be completely validated by real cases; therefore, this study concluded with a recommendation for testing the framework in future pilot projects.
Date of Award1 May 2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorStephen Ledbetter (Supervisor)


  • Cladding
  • integration
  • supply chain
  • decision-making
  • procurement

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