Dynamic Quality Control of Process Resource to Improve Concrete Supply Chain
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The latest literature on quality management in the construction industry asserts that it has not been embraced as a holistic approach to improve overall performance. It is felt that management’s insistence on punch-list inspection creates barriers to adopting the model that fosters a culture of constant improvement embraced by total quality management (TQM). With this recognition, this research paper presents a model that extends the output-oriented process model to pursue continuous improvement along the supply chain. Extensive field observations and discussions with contractors show that the ready-mixed concrete supply and placement suffers the loss of information when concrete is delivered in truckloads and sampled for quality testing in the laboratory. Without recording the spatial boundaries of a truck volume of poured concrete, a failing quality report leads to large costs for core-drilling to find the location of the unacceptable concrete poured 28 days earlier. The latter part of the paper will present the work to design and field-experiment a feedforward control method that also served as a novel electronic as-built documenter. Ruggedized radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags were added (embedded) as the concrete flowed from the truck into the hopper of the pump. A hand-held RFID reader not only detected 14 out of the 15 embedded tags, but the tags’ readability served as an indicator of the concrete’s curing progress. The unique contribution of this research project can be seen in the experimental work established by the feasible evidence measured from a real-world construction context. In order to overcome the ingrained view of reactive inspection in concrete supply chains, this research offers a proposed approach whereby its workability is evaluated through first-hand examination.
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