Hierarchical Multi-Project Planning and Supply Chain Management: an Integrated Framework
Date: 24 March 2014
University of Exeter
PhD in Engineering
This work focuses on the need for new knowledge to allow hierarchical multi-project management to be conducted in the construction industry, which is characterised by high uncertainty, fragmentation, complex decisions, dynamic changes and long-distance communication. A dynamic integrated project management approach is required at ...
This work focuses on the need for new knowledge to allow hierarchical multi-project management to be conducted in the construction industry, which is characterised by high uncertainty, fragmentation, complex decisions, dynamic changes and long-distance communication. A dynamic integrated project management approach is required at strategic, tactical and operational levels in order to achieve adaptability. The work sees the multi-project planning and control problem in the context of supply chain management at main contractor companies. A portfolio manager must select and prioritise the projects, bid and negotiate with a wide range of clients, while project managers are dealing with subcontractors, suppliers, etc whose relationships and collaborations are critical to the optimisation of schedules in which time, cost and safety (etc) criteria must be achieved. Literature review and case studies were used to investigate existing approaches to hierarchical multi-project management, to identify the relationships and interactions between the parties concerned, and to investigate the possibilities for integration. A system framework was developed using a multi-agent-system architecture and utilising procedures adapted from literature to deal with short, medium and long-term planning. The framework is based on in-depth case study and integrates time-cost trade-off for project optimisation with multi-attribute utility theory to facilitate project scheduling, subcontractor selection and bid negotiation at the single project level. In addition, at the enterprise level, key performance indicator rule models are devised to align enterprise supply chain configuration (strategic decision) with bid selection and bid preparation/negotiation (tactical decision) and project supply chain selection (operational decision). Across the hierarchical framework the required quantitative and qualitative methods are integrated for project scheduling, risk assessment and subcontractor evaluation. Thus, experience sharing and knowledge management facilitate project planning across the scattered construction sites. The mathematical aspects were verified using real data from in-depth case study and a test case. The correctness, usefulness and applicability of the framework for users was assessed by creating a prototype Multi Agent System-Decision Support System (MAS-DSS) which was evaluated empirically with four case studies in national, international, large and small companies. The positive feedback from these cases indicates strong acceptance of the framework by experienced practitioners. It provides an original contribution to the literature on planning and supply chain management by integrating a practical solution for the dynamic and uncertain complex multi-project environment of the construction industry.
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