Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better

Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better: Lessons from the Harvard Home Building Study

By Frederick Abernathy, Kermit Baker, Kent Colton, and David Weil. Lexington Books. 2011.

Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better: Lessons from the Harvard Home Building StudyBigger Isn’t Necessarily Better examines the performance and operation of the US homebuilding sector based on a detailed survey of large home builders conducted by the authors in the period of the great building boom of the 2000s. In contrast to the many books that have focused on the financial side of the housing sector prior to the Great Recession, the book examines the operational side of the industry and what did, and, more importantly, what did not, happen during the period of unprecedented growth.

Despite the rise of very large, national homebuilders during the boom years from 1999 to 2005 and the consolidation of the industry that accompanied it, the authors find that major homebuilders often did not adopt innovations in areas ranging from information technology, supply chain practices, and work site management, nor improve their operational performance. Given this, the book discusses what homebuilders can learn from other industries as they face a challenging future.

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Re-Engineering the Home Building Industry: The Past and Future of Residential Construction. 
The U.S. home building industry has seen tremendous consolidation in recent years, but new research finds limited evidence that larger builders adopted significantly more innovative practices than their smaller competitors in terms of improved buying power, greater IT investment, changes in subcontractor relationships, and streamlining the supply chain. Instead, builder practice and performance were impacted much more by local housing market characteristics such that builders in lower appreciation markets were more efficient and innovative because they faced far greater pressure to hold down costs, while builders in higher appreciation markets had better financial performance even with lower efficiencies and far less attention placed on innovations. This book will include this research as well as a discussion of what home builders can learn from other industries that have successfully adopted many of the IT, supply chain, production, and management practices that have been slow to arrive to the home building industry.
Abstract: DOWNLOAD PDF-HB06 | Table of Contents: DOWNLOAD PDF-HB05

The 2005 Harvard University Residential Building Supply in Transition Survey:
Corporate Overview: DOWNLOAD PDF-HB03 | Divison-Level Builder Survey: DOWNLOAD PDF-HB04 


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