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International report highlights effects of collaboration in infrastructure projects

Published: 12 June 2020

In a report recently published for the OECD and International Transport Forum, researchers from Luleå University of Technology, among others, highlight the positive effects that can be achieved through collaborative procurement in infrastructure projects.

The report is based on compiled research from Sweden and the Netherlands and shows that collaboration has the potential to contribute to both innovation and increased efficiency, but that it is challenging and requires great efforts from several players in the supply chain.

“It is very rewarding to be able to collaborate across national borders and contribute with knowledge for an organization that works internationally with the development of a better society”, says Johan Larsson, researcher at Luleå University of Technology.

The report shows that broad actor participation in infrastructure projects is a prerequisite for achieving satisfactory effects, but that this needs to be supplemented by e.g. co-location of the actors in a joint project office. Something that is frequently used in the Netherlands and has proven to contribute to increased efficiency is to involve private financing. A strategy with private financing has been shown to encourage the use of more robust materials and technical solutions, which increases the focus on quality as well as returns and puts pressure on the suppliers to keep budget and time. The report emphasizes that a major challenge with introducing a high degree of collaboration is that it increases transaction costs and that the client therefore has to put the effort in relation to the size and complexity of the project, the more challenging project characteristics, the more the collaboration proves to be needed.

“The report highlights both the pros and cons of collaboration and can act as a guide for public clients during procurement and implementation of collaborative infrastructure projects”, Johan continues.

Results presented in the report stresses that implementing collaborative procurement strategies entails organizational change and learning for all actors involved. This change requires investments in routines, resources and capabilities for collaboration and organizational learning, both at the project level and at the firm level. Accordingly, public clients of infrastructure projects need to improve their knowledge of how collaborative procurement strategies can be designed and implemented in order to enhance efficiency and innovation.

The full report is available on the following website.

For more info:

Johan Larsson

Johan Larsson, Senior Lecturer

Phone: +46 (0)920 492263
Organisation: Construction Management and Building Technology , Industrialized and sustainable construction, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering
Per-Erik Eriksson

Per-Erik Eriksson, Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 493058
Organisation: Construction Management and Building Technology , Industrialized and sustainable construction, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering