ITcon Vol. 25, pg. 500-521, http://www.itcon.org/2020/29

A conceptual digital business model for construction logistics consultants, featuring a sociomaterial blockchain solution for integrated economic, material and information flows

DOI:10.36680/j.itcon.2020.029
submitted:July 2020
revised:September 2020
published:October 2020
editor(s):Amor R
authors:Dimosthenis Kifokeris, Assistant Professor,
Division of Construction Management, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology;
dimkif@chalmers.se

Christian Koch, Professor,
Division of Construction Management, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology;
christian.koch@chalmers.se
summary:In this paper, a new digital business model for independent construction logistics consultants, which features the conceptualization of a sociomaterial blockchain solution for integrated information, material and economic flows, is proposed. Theoretically, we offer an understanding of the economic flow, stress the optimization of construction logistics through flow integration, analyse current approaches to understanding blockchain, adopt sociomateriality to envision a suitable blockchain solution, and consider the way blockchain can constitute part of the value proposition of a related digital business model. Methodologically, we systematically reviewed the literature on blockchain-related construction research, and conducted empirical studies on independent logistics consultants in the Swedish context for more than a year. On the one hand, the literature review reveals that core blockchain properties can generate value for construction logistics (e.g. shared ledger structure and reduction of accounting rework) – however, apart from visions and prototypes, there currently exist no use cases, and potential implementational constraints and security issues are limitedly considered. One the other hand, the empirical findings show that independent construction logistics consultants in the sociomaterial Swedish context are suitable candidates for the proposed digital business model. By combining the literature and empirical insights, a permissioned private proof-of-authority blockchain solution integrating the supply chain flows in a generic sociomaterial setting is conceptualized. This solution is then embedded in the value proposition of a digital business model for an independent construction logistics consultant. The proposition includes, among others, improved process management and increased productivity, while the consultants’ competitive advantage through innovation is facilitated. Other business model segments, like key resources, are also updated via the blockchain solution, while some, like channels, are not significantly affected. To not hinder the realization of this digital business model, issues like the lack of blockchain awareness, and the existing power balances within sociomaterial constellations, have to be addressed.
keywords:Construction logistics, blockchain, value, digital business model, independent logistics consultants
full text: (PDF file, 1.043 MB)
citation:Kifokeris D, Koch C (2020). A conceptual digital business model for construction logistics consultants, featuring a sociomaterial blockchain solution for integrated economic, material and information flows, ITcon Vol. 25, pg. 500-521, https://doi.org/10.36680/j.itcon.2020.029