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Lean commercial management: defining the borders of the discipline in the construction industry

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conference contribution
posted on 11.10.2010, 16:13 by Daria Zimina, Christine L. Pasquire
Commercial management is defined by the Institute of Commercial Management as “the identification and development of business opportunities and the profitable management of projects and contracts, from inception to completion.” It addresses companies’ internal and external relationships and thus plays an enormously important role in construction, which in essence is an inter-organisation industry. Construction projects require the contribution of multiple actors each of them representing a separate business entity with their own goals and incentives. Commercial management is the discipline that supports communication between all these individual bits. This inevitably puts it in a position to affect company profitability and long-term business success in a fast and dramatic way. Commercial management relates both to the policy of the company, or how it intends to deliver a project, plans its relationship with other organisations; and to operations (contracting, procurement, money flow and accounting), or how this policy is put in practice. In the developing lean construction industry good intentions are rarely supported by changes in the commercial operations. The projects are completed with lean principles but worked around habitual accounting, contracts and in many cases even procurement. Reliance on these commercial operations might hamper full exploration of lean benefits. This paper addresses the following questions: what is the relation between commercial management and project delivery? Is lean commercial management a necessary part of lean construction? If lean commercial management has to be implemented, what should it be like? The hypotheses tested in this paper suggests that (1) lean construction is a viable choice of commercial strategy (2) lean commercial management is an integral part of lean construction system subordinate to the project delivery.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


ZIMINA, D. and PASQUIRE, C.L., 2010. Lean commercial management: defining the borders of the discipline in the construction industry. IN: Walsh, K. and Alves, A. (Eds.). Proceedings of the 18th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC 18), Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel, 14th - 16th July.


Technion - Israel Institute of Technology (© Daria Zimina and Christine L. Pasquire)


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This is a conference paper. Further fetails of the conference can be found at: http://iglc18.technion.ac.il/