PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology


PATH: Supply Chain Support for the Commercialization of Innovative Products in the Residential Construction Industry

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

* Walid Y. Thabet, Principal Investigator
* Charles Koebel, Co-Principal Investigator
* Ralph Badinelli, Co-Principal Investigator

Start: September 1, 2005
Expires: August 31, 2008


The research will construct a holistic business model for the commercialization of innovative products in the residential construction industry. The research is motivated by recurrent failures of developers of new, innovative homebuilding products in bringing these products to market quickly and effectively. The diffusion of the new homebuilding techniques and the growth of new industries in the provision of construction materials are stifled by these failures. This research is directed at identifying the reasons for this inability and to prescribe solutions.

Intellectual Merit: Our interdisciplinary effort will combine expertise from faculty and graduate students in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech and industry partners. Through collaborative work, the research team will design, evaluate and disseminate a business model for designing and managing supply chains that will overcome the barriers to the commercialization of new, innovative products for residential construction.

This model will be holistic in the sense that in it will consist of several integrated sub-models that will comprise strategic, tactical and operational decisions associated with the commercialization of an innovative product.

These sub-models will be of two types:

1. Rule-based models for strategic decisions related to market targeting, supplier selection, product configuration, distribution channel selection.

2. Mathematical decision models for pricing policies and production and inventory planning.

The models will be integrated through a common database so decisions made at one juncture of the commercialization process will impose parameters and constraints on decisions made at other junctures. The overall business model will enforce an optimization of the business plan that is coordinated across all levels of decision making.

Broader Impacts: The research will have broad impacts on the economy and workforce of the United States because it creates a holistic framework for commercialization of new innovative products for the residential construction industry. Examples of these impacts are:

The market for residential construction in the United States has entered a stage in which innovation will determine the viability of new construction in terms of its energy efficiency, construction costs, environmental acceptability and functionality. Furthermore, the United States economy is on the verge of becoming either a net importer or a net exporter of construction materials. The success of small-sized, limited-resource innovators will be a principal factor in the success of the construction industry and the national economy.

The work will support educational coursework at both the Department of Building Construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech. Results from the data acquisition and analysis, and supply-chain decision models developed will be integrated in the course curriculum as case studies.

For additional details on this NSF award.

Content updated on 9/26/2006

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