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The practical relationship between continuous flow and lean construction in SMEs

Wallace Avelar (MSG, Federal Fluminense University , Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Marcelo Meiriño (MSG, Federal Fluminense University , Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Guilherme Luiz Tortorella ( UFSC , Florianopolis, Brazil)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 22 November 2019

Issue publication date: 4 February 2020




The purpose of this paper is to explore the applicability of lean construction (LC) concepts and tools in necessary, but non-value-added activities (NVAA) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). The application of the lean tools in this way facilitates the flow of information and handling material, improving productivity, quality and performance. Finally, practical results motivate a discussion on the real potential of LC principles and on the challenges related to its implementation.


The methodology makes use of direct involvement in the environment under study. Some of the activities performed were the value stream mapping and time and motion studies of the company’s process selected, identification of wastes and the proposition of improvements to be implemented.


The main findings are related to the benefits of the application of LC not only in value-added activities but in activities that can influence the development and workforce planning, especially for SME businesses. This company should be able to achieve better management decisions and results after implementing the LC principles, overcoming the limited resources.


This proposed method helps in overcoming the lack of systematic procedures, enabling LC in activities that not add value properly. It has the advantage of integrating existing tools and models effectively, which not only improve the shortcomings of the conventional methods but also result in more convenient calculation and application.



The research was supported by the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) – Universal Call 01-2016, Process Number: 430119/2016-0.


Avelar, W., Meiriño, M. and Tortorella, G.L. (2020), "The practical relationship between continuous flow and lean construction in SMEs", The TQM Journal, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 362-380.



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