Project: Ensuring the survival and growth of SME construction companies - SmallBuild+

Currently a large number of construction businesses struggle with low profits and many are going bankrupt, adding people to the unemployment lines. We have noticed that many SME construction companies are good at “carpentry”, but not at management. We have observed that that this in many cases is due to the lack of control systems and the lack of proper information for decision making. This in addition to a workforce followed by stress and the emphasis on doing things faster and faster, leads to delays and flaws in processes due to the lack of cooperation between parties inside and outside the organization. It is like driving fast with a car that lacks instruments on a bad road._x000D__x000D_And while we can't speak for Europe, our findings in Norway show that entrepreneurs have a large potential for substantial costs savings by working smarter and more efficiently since the CO cost of a house consists of three parts; the land it's standing on, the materials needed, and the labor of putting it together. The last two consist of a proper flow of materials and personnel at the right place at the right time. It is that simple, yet that hard, to do._x000D__x000D_In a pilot study in a Norwegian SME construction company we used enterprise/business modeling together with business management methods in an effort to change the way of working in the company. This gave some very encouraging results (See appendix Results from demonstrator company). _x000D__x000D_We now ask the following research questions: _x000D_1. How can enterprise/business modeling and methods from business management and process management be combined into a comprehensive management system that helps SME construction companies to ensure profitability and hinder bankruptcies? _x000D_2. How can such a management system be implemented in SME construction companies so that best practice business processes and business management are seamlessly integrated?_x000D_3. Which are the effects of implementing such a system?_x000D__x000D_From a research perspective, the novelty of the project is the combination of two disciplines: business modeling and business management. Many specialists, particularly in the business modeling field attest that if the methods of these two fields are combined great results on business could be achieved, but they seldom are. This project aims to investigate how this can be done._x000D_ _x000D_Through action research we wish answer the research questions by a) developing a comprehensive control system that provides information and early warnings of risks to future profits and liquidity while at the same time ensuring that business processes are effective and efficient, and b) test the control system in a real demonstrator case involving an SME construction company. Since the core of a management system is information, we will test the management system by integrating it with existing information processing (IT)systems in the company._x000D__x000D_The hypothesis is that the comprehensive management system will have the following effects:_x000D_1. Early indications of potential liquidity problems, which can prevent bankruptcies._x000D_2. Significant improvements in profits through holistic improvements in the flow of goods, work and information._x000D__x000D_The knowledge gained in the project will be packaged as a toolbox, the SmallBuild+ method, for implementing best practice management systems in SME construction companies, which will be the basis for further research as well as for commersialisation in terms of services._x000D__x000D_In order to be able to answer the research questions the project consortium comprises:_x000D_- Two universities which COly contribute with expertise in enterprise/business modeling, method development and implementation, IT-supported business processes, knowledge management and business intelligence,_x000D_- A company which contributes with expertise in business management, and_x000D_- A company that provides a tool which supports integrated development, management, surveillance and follow-up of business process. This enables testing the mangement system by integrating it with the demonstrator company's existing information processing (IT) systems._x000D_In addition the project will involve an SME construction company functioning as a research arena._x000D_

Acronym asys (Reference Number: 7349)
Duration 01/11/2012 - 31/10/2015
Project Topic By combining business modeling and business management methods, the project aims to develop and test a process surveillance and control system to ensure best practice, sustainability and increased profit in SME construction companies.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 8

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
4 Admit Systemer AS Coordinator Norway
4 University of Skövde Partner Sweden
4 Visuera Integration AB Partner Sweden
4 Aalesund University College Partner Norway