Despite advances in project management methodologies, system design in project production is still a developing topic. It is a common, challengeful issue for firms in different industries because proper strategy-structure alignment is crucial to business performance. The challenge comes from the fact that a myriad of factors can affect the workings of a production system, many of which are unobvious to outsiders. Consequently, the contents of production strategies are often described superficially, neglecting some of the underlying causes of successful production systems. In contrast, this paper argues that best-in-class production systems can only be well understood if their tangible and intangible attributes are captured alongside with contextual factors. This paper aims to show that true best practices and production competences arise from a number of coherent strategic choices that help shape the production system. In addition, it points to the importance of perceiving the implicit leadership assumptions and theoretical foundations because of their role in creating coherence between design and operation decisions. Finally, a theoretical hierarchy of these tangible and intangible attributes is proposed. This extended view on the content of production strategy becomes primordial to understanding the challenge of designing well adjusted lean production systems for construction projects.
Production strategy, production system design, best practice.