Supply chain integration in project manufacturing environments: The case of the offshore wind farm construction sector

Publikation: Ph.d. afhandling/ kandidat/ diplomPh.d. afhandlingForskningpeer review


Offshore wind power plants have faced an exponential increase in demand in a relatively short period of time, which is a situation that poses challenges to the industry’s supply chain. Industrial players have called for the application of supply chain management practices to increase the efficiency in the flow of materials and information in the offshore wind industry (OWI), with the aim of making it more efficient compared to established and mature power sectors.
Supply chain integration (SCI) refers to the strategic collaboration among companies with the aim of increasing the performance of the supply chain network. Academic findings highlight the positive effect on the performance of industries when the various practices, attitudes or patterns of SCI are observed and properly implemented, although little is known about the influence of these concepts in construction projects and more specifically in the OWI.
This research work seeks to find how the OWI can apply the academic knowledge of SCI to increase the availability of offshore wind energy by means of a better integration of the industry. The main research question of this dissertation is: How can the offshore wind industry integrate its supply chain to expand the supply of this source of renewable energy?
In order to answer this question this research endeavour is split into the following parts:
Article 1 reports the outcome of an explorative literature review in the topic of SCI, which revealed that there were no specific dimensions of SCI that could help the OWI to overcome its supply chain challenges. In parallel, an explorative study helped to determine the current level of SCI in the industry. That study also provided the reasoning for differentiating large construction projects from large- scale and continuous production networks.
Article 2 presents the findings of an in-depth literature review in the topic of SCI to identify which academic discoveries apply specifically to the process of construction projects. The reported outcome is that there is no available knowledge to produce a proposal to assist in the shifting of the industry from its current state into an integrated one to overcome its existing supply chain challenges. This article is also the first to position large construction projects in the context of manufacturing environments for their study in the topic of SCI.
Based on this outcome, two paths were followed. The first derived in the development of a case study that took the network relation between Siemens Wind Power, DONG Energy, one manufacturer of foundations and one provider of installation services as the unit of study. The study aimed to find how the dimensions of SCI were applied in the relationship between partners in a large construction project. The outcome of this case study is reported in Article 3, which contributes to filling the research gap of the dimensions of SCI in the context of construction projects and is one of the prime articles in this topic to take a large construction project as a source of empirical data.
The second path derived in the development of a case study in which a cross-case comparison was conducted to find similarities between the course that an OEM should follow to integrate systems to deliver an offshore wind farm, and the transformation that an aerospace company followed to become a systems integrator of airplanes. Article 4 reports these findings and includes a transformation proposal applicable to the context of the OWI. This article contributes to filling the gap of research in SCI in construction projects by exploring other SCM-related topics for dimensions of SCI in similar industrial contexts.
The implications for managers are that contrary to suggestions to relax the formal aspect of the partnership with the aim of improving the collaborative relationships, keeping the formality by means of contracts and non-disclosure agreements seems to be necessary for projects that have a considerable amount of resources and intellectual capital at stake.
Bevilgende institution
  • Syddansk Universitet
  • Freytag, Per Vagn, Vejleder, Ekstern person
  • Mikkelsen, Ole Stegmann, Vejleder, Ekstern person
Sponsorer for afhandling
Bevillingsdato26 apr. 2019
StatusUdgivet - 26 apr. 2019


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