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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2012

Gao Shang and Low Sui Pheng

Since lean thinking has begun to be successfully implemented in manufacturing, the concept and its associated principles have become increasingly popular in the…

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Abstract

Purpose

Since lean thinking has begun to be successfully implemented in manufacturing, the concept and its associated principles have become increasingly popular in the construction industry. The purpose of this research is to present an empirical study of the Toyota Way model in China's construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents the results of a study conducted in China using a questionnaire survey to examine the extent to which the Toyota Way principles have been adopted by large Chinese construction firms. A total of 93 Chinese building professionals participated in the survey in China.

Findings

The Toyota Way is the “mother platform” of lean thinking, cutting across operational improvement strategies, people management, proactive problem‐solving approaches, and organizational culture elements. The results show some encouraging findings, in that a number of actionable attributes derived from Toyota Way principles have been adopted at least to some extent. However, implementing firms may still be subject to falling into the same traps and making the same implementation “mistakes” as have been seen elsewhere, as they often deployed this comprehensive management model in less than systematic ways.

Originality/value

The results also indicate that all the Toyota Way attributes were perceived as important by the respondents. The focus of the study is to discuss those attributes perceived as being highly important, yet less implemented. It is suggested that direct efforts and resources are needed to enhance these practices at the beginning. The results are also discussed in connection with their possible implications and suggestions for further research.

Details

Journal of Technology Management in China, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-8779

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Article
Publication date: 23 January 2007

Jian Kang, Charles Y.J. Cheah, David A.S. Chew and Guozhi Liu

The purpose of this paper is to examine a series of environmental factors and industrial conditions governing the construction industry in China. The outcome of this part…

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1744

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine a series of environmental factors and industrial conditions governing the construction industry in China. The outcome of this part of the analysis sheds light on the development of appropriate competitive strategies and important resources and competencies (IRCs) to establish long‐term competitive advantages.

Design/methodology/approach

The overarching conceptual framework consists of both external and internal analyses. Since, the scope of work is very broad, the materials presented in this paper is limited to external analysis of environmental factors. The study is primarily derived from a literature review and synthesis of data gathered from various public sources. Certain parts of the analysis utilize frameworks developed by other researchers and selective statistical methods.

Findings

Some environmental factors, such as government intervention and legal and regulatory systems require the development of Guanxi (relationships) to cope with. Other factors including market structure, project procurement systems, horizontal market segments related to construction, regional characteristics and upstream and downstream functions within the construction value chain are suggestive of five potential types of competitive strategies: cost leadership, differentiation, market/product diversification, geographical diversification, and vertical/functional integration.

Research limitations/implications

The research study as a whole is targeted at large construction firms in China that belong to the First class qualification category. Therefore, the proposed competitive strategies and IRCs may not be applicable to small and medium construction enterprises.

Originality/value

Application of strategic management theories and empirical findings related to the Chinese construction industry is lacking. This research fills this gap and builds a foundation for future studies related to this industry.

Details

Chinese Management Studies, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-614X

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Article
Publication date: 5 April 2013

Gao Shang and Low Sui Pheng

Kaizen or continuous improvement is a renowned Japanese management philosophy implemented in many industries all over the world. It is geared towards the everyday worker…

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1956

Abstract

Purpose

Kaizen or continuous improvement is a renowned Japanese management philosophy implemented in many industries all over the world. It is geared towards the everyday worker and management, and aims to continually improve the workplace, even on a small scale. The extent of implementation in China is unknown. This paper seeks to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

This study has the objective of filling a gap by addressing the implementation issues facing kaizen in a project setting, and employs qualitative methods to investigate the application of kaizen within large Chinese construction firms. The material for this study is taken from interviews of 27 Chinese building professionals from 16 large Chinese firms in 2011.

Findings

The interview results indicate that different types of activities associated with kaizen have been adopted by Chinese construction firms at the project level.

Research limitations/implications

There are considerable challenges identified in this study. This includes the lack of a supporting culture, compressing schedules, limited resources and especially the lack of professionals with sufficient understanding of kaizen. In order to put Chinese construction firms in a better position to implement kaizen, this study concludes with a number of strategies for overcoming these challenges.

Originality/value

The respondents' perceptions of kaizen, as well as its possible applications in real life projects, were sought. In addition, the infrastructure of kaizen within the Chinese construction project setting was also investigated in this study.

Details

Journal of Technology Management in China, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-8779

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2014

Gao Shang and Low Sui Pheng

This study aims to build on previous research into lean practices and the associated barriers reported in various contexts to empirically address the question of what…

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2341

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to build on previous research into lean practices and the associated barriers reported in various contexts to empirically address the question of what possible barriers exist to hinder the implementation of lean practices in the construction industry in China. Despite the potential that lean practices have to improve quality and productivity while reducing costs, successful stories of lean deployment are not frequently heard of.

Design/methodology/approach

A large-scale survey of Chinese building professionals is used to identify these barriers.

Findings

The results suggest that the most crucial barriers to implementation of lean practices, as perceived by Chinese building professionals, include “their lack of a long-term philosophy”, “the absence of a lean culture in their organizations”, “the use of multi-layer subcontracting” and others. This study also reports the findings using a factor analysis that shows the six underlying factors hindering the implementation of lean practices in the Chinese construction industry, namely, people and partner issues, managerial and organizational issues, lack of support issues, culture and philosophy issues, government issues and procurement issues.

Originality/value

This study offers a thorough overview of the barriers to implementing lean practices in various contexts, with a focus on construction. This study also contributes to the knowledge by recommending the measures that can be taken to appropriately overcome the barriers identified.

Details

Journal of Technology Management in China, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-8779

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2018

Mohamed Saad Bajjou and Anas Chafi

Lean construction provides innovative practices to manage construction projects while reducing waste and improving performance. This paper aims to explore the current…

Abstract

Purpose

Lean construction provides innovative practices to manage construction projects while reducing waste and improving performance. This paper aims to explore the current level of awareness of lean construction practices among Moroccan construction professionals to assess the potential benefits derived from lean construction practices and to identify the critical barriers hindering a successful implementation.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper opted for a quantitative approach by using a structured questionnaire survey. A total of 330 valid responses were collected from Moroccan construction practitioners involved in private and public construction organisations.

Findings

The results show that 61 per cent of the respondents are familiar with lean construction practices. The findings have also pointed out that the lean construction approach adds a positive impact, specifically on quality, safety and environmental level. In addition, the main barriers hindering a successful lean construction deployment in Morocco are lack of knowledge about lean construction philosophy, unskilled human resources and insufficient financial resources.

Originality/value

This study provides a new insight into the implementation of lean construction in Morocco. It contributes to the body of knowledge, as it uncovers for the first time the level of awareness, the potential benefits derived from lean construction practices and the barriers to implementing lean construction in the Moroccan construction industry. Exploring the current state of lean construction implementation can help practitioners, companies and researchers in the Moroccan construction industry to focus their effort and resources on the significant issues necessary to assist a successful implementation of lean construction. Furthermore, the findings of this study could prove valuable to other countries in Africa, especially those sharing similarities to the Moroccan context.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

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Article
Publication date: 12 February 2020

Emmanuel Nsiah Ankomah, Joshua Ayarkwa and Kofi Agyekum

The purpose of this study is to ascertain the extent to which the practices of small and medium building contractors (SMBCs) conform to lean construction (LC) principles…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to ascertain the extent to which the practices of small and medium building contractors (SMBCs) conform to lean construction (LC) principles. Ultimately, practical results encourage a discourse on the true potentials and challenges to the holistic uptake of LC principles in the Ghanaian construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

This research is based on a qualitative case study approach. The data was obtained through face-to-face structured interviews.

Findings

Across the cases, it was realized that there is a low-level application of LC principles among SMBCs. There was no indication that lean concepts were used on a company-wide basis in the Ghanaian construction industry. Furthermore, the study revealed that the traditional wasteful approach to managing construction projects was still prevalent among the firms.

Practical implications

This paper uses the 4P model as a foundation for assessing the extent to which the practices of SMBCs conform to LC principles. Practically, the study also created a certain level of awareness among the SMBCs about LC, LC principles and the benefits of the application of these principles within organizations.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the body of knowledge as it uncovers the status of LC implementation among SMBCs in the Ghanaian construction industry. The findings that are presented in this paper can be used as a starting point to disseminate the research and practice of LC among SMBCs.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology , vol. 18 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2012

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155

Abstract

Details

Journal of Technology Management in China, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-8779

Content available
Article
Publication date: 5 April 2013

Shawn M. Carraher

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158

Abstract

Details

Journal of Technology Management in China, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-8779

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Case study
Publication date: 1 January 2011

Low Sui Pheng and Gao Shang

Manufacturing, Western management theories and Japanese management practices.

Abstract

Subject area

Manufacturing, Western management theories and Japanese management practices.

Student level/applicability

This case can be used in project management or management-related courses at tertiary institutions at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level.

Case overview

This case provides students with an opportunity to find out what make Toyota so successful in manufacturing through its famous production system as well as the underlying Toyota Way principles. All students are expected to understand the Toyota Way model with a balanced view that goes beyond a set of lean tools such as just-in-time. This case opens a historical account for the Toyota Way model by connecting with possible Western management theories and Japanese management practices.

Expected learning outcomes

It is expected to significantly benefit students with industry experience with the intention of initiating appropriate changes in their own industry and/or organization by applying what they have learnt from the Toyota Way, through bridging with Western management theories.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes.

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2021

Sheila Belayutham, Rabiatul Nurul Akmar Mohamad Jaafar, Herda Balqis Ismail and Che Khairil Izam Che Ibrahim

Megaprojects are typically very expensive public-centred projects that leave little space for any mismanagement or deficient planning, which could affect the project…

Abstract

Purpose

Megaprojects are typically very expensive public-centred projects that leave little space for any mismanagement or deficient planning, which could affect the project adversely. The Last Planner™ System (LPS) is a lean construction planning and control tool that functions to reduce waste and increase performance. Given the benefits, the application of the LPS in megaprojects is still scarce, especially in Malaysia. Hence, this study aims to compare the current production planning, monitoring and review practices in a megaproject with the LPS in order to explore the possibilities of adapting the LPS to the current practices.

Design/methodology/approach

This longitudinal case-based study has first explored the current practices implemented in an infrastructure megaproject, which is an urban rapid transit (URT) project, which was then compared to the standard LPS practices. The case study has adopted several research methods such as observation, interview and document review.

Findings

Findings from the study highlight that the current production planning, monitoring and review practices in the URT project mostly differs from the standard LPS practices with only slight similarities found in the major planning phases. The comparative study, which based on five reference points through master, phase, look-ahead, weekly work plan and measure, and learning has resulted in several key elements, representative of the different planning phases, such as collaborative programming, reverse planning, reliability, dependability and continuous learning.

Practical implications

This study provides an alternative perspective to rail planners, as well as other types of project planners in considering the use of the LPS to enhance the quality of planning, monitoring and review in projects. The framework that highlights the core values and key elements for the related planning phases enables project teams with no lean background to partially adapt their current practices to the LPS with minimal disruption.

Originality/value

This study first contributes to the body of knowledge, where limited study was found comparing and contrasting current production planning practices against the LPS, particularly in rail-based megaproject. The results from the comparison are the key elements representing each of the planning phases that was rooted back to the core values (teamwork, involvement and collaboration, communication and transparency, and continuous improvement) necessary to enhance the current practices.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

Keywords

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