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February 6, 2024

Incentive-based coordination for scheduled delivery in prefab construction

Kim, Y.-W., & Rhee, B.-D. (2024). Incentive-based coordination for scheduled delivery in prefab construction. Construction Management and Economics, 1–16.

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An increasing number of projects are adopting prefabrication to economize on time, labor, and materials in fixed-position layout operations, such as construction, ship building, and aircraft manufacturing. In such contexts, independent contractor and fabricator make interdependent decisions, which calls for prudent supply chain management because performance relies on coordination between their decisions. Many studies have developed integrated systems and propose various algorithms for scheduling efficiency and reliability. Nevertheless, they pay scant attention to conflicting interests amongst independent partners, which may result in subpar performance not only for the supplier but for the contractor as well. Coordination of conflicting interests has been extensively studied in economics and supply chain management; yet, those studies focus on order-quantity decisions under demand uncertainty for profit maximization, while managers in fixed-position operations are more concerned about delivery decisions under scheduling uncertainty for cost minimization. We consider the case of construction and explore a contractual scheme that aligns the agents' decisions for coordination in a construction supply chain. Specifically, we propose a supplier rebate for coordination: the supplier grants a rebate if the contractor accepts the shipment in accordance with the delivery schedule that the contractor initially chose. We show that the optimal rebate fully coordinates the supply chain to minimize the joint supply chain costs. Thus, both the contractor and supplier benefit from the coordination by negotiating a mutually acceptable way to allocate the savings in joint costs between them. We further show that the rebate motivates the contractor to enhance its work scheduling.


Construction supply chain; coordination; delivery schedule reliability; prefabrication; rebate for scheduled delivery