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Article
Publication date: 9 June 2020

Qian Chen, Bryan T. Adey, Carl Haas and Daniel M. Hall

Building information modelling (BIM) and radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies have been extensively explored to improve supply chain visibility and…

Abstract

Purpose

Building information modelling (BIM) and radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies have been extensively explored to improve supply chain visibility and coordination of material flow processes, particularly in the pursuit of Industry 4.0. It remains challenging, however, to effectively use these technologies to enable the precise and reliable coordination of material flow processes. This paper aims to propose a new workflow designed to include the use of detailed look-ahead plans when using BIM and RFID technologies, which can accurately track and match both the dynamic site needs and supply status of materials.

Design/methodology/approach

The new workflow is designed according to lean theory and is modeled using business process modeling notation. To digitally support the workflow, an integrated BIM-RFID database system is constructed that links information on material demands with look-ahead plans. The new workflow is then used to manage material flows in the erection of an office building with prefabricated columns. The performance of the new workflow is compared with that of a traditional workflow, using discrete event simulations. The input for the simulations was derived from expert opinion in semi-structured interviews.

Findings

The new workflow enables contractors to better observe on-site status and differences between the actual and planned material requirements, as well as to alert suppliers if necessary. The simulation results indicate that the new workflow has the potential to reduce the duration of the material flow processes by 16.1% compared with the traditional workflow.

Research limitations/implications

The new workflow is illustrated using a real-world-like situation with input data based on expert opinion. Although the workflow shows potential, it should be tested on a real-world site.

Practical implications

The new workflow allows project participants to combine detailed near-term look-ahead plans with BIM and RFID technologies to better manage material flow processes. It is particularly useful for the management of engineer-to-order components considering the dynamic site progress.

Originality/value

The research improves on existing research focused on using BIM and RFID technologies to improve material flow processes by showing how the workflow can be adapted to use detailed look-ahead plans. It reinforces data-driven construction material management practices through improved visibility and reliability in planning and control of material flow processes.

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Article
Publication date: 19 March 2018

Josana Gabriele Bolzan Wesz, Carlos Torres Formoso and Patricia Tzortzopoulos

The purpose of this paper is to propose a model for planning and controlling the design process in companies that design, manufacture and assemble prefabricated…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a model for planning and controlling the design process in companies that design, manufacture and assemble prefabricated engineer-to-order (ETO) building systems. This model was devised as an adaptation of the Last Planner® System for ETO multiple-project environments.

Design/methodology/approach

Design science research, also known as prescriptive research, was the methodological approach adopted in this research. An empirical study was carried out at the design department of a leading steel fabricator from Brazil, in which the proposed model was implemented in six different design teams.

Findings

The main benefits of the proposed model were shielding design work from variability, encouraging collaborative planning, creating opportunities for learning, increasing process transparency, and flexibility according to project status. Two main factors affected the effectiveness of the implementation process commitment and leadership of design managers, and training on design management and project planning and control core concepts and practices.

Research limitations/implications

Some limitations were identified in the implementation process: similarly to some previous studies (Ballard, 2002; Codinhoto and Formoso, 2005), the success of constraint analysis was still limited; some of the metrics produced (e.g. ABI, causes of planning failures) have not been fully used for process improvement; and systematic feedback about project status was not properly implemented and tested.

Originality/value

The main contributions of this study in relation to traditional design planning and control practices are related to the use of two levels of look-ahead planning, the introduction of a decoupling point between conceptual and detail design, the proposition of new metrics for the Last Planner® System, and understanding the potential role of visual management to support planning and control.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 5 April 2021

Qian Chen, Bryan T. Adey, Carl T. Haas and Daniel M. Hall

The dynamic nature and complexity of construction projects make it challenging to ensure that the engineer-to-order (ETO) materials supplied onsite match changing needs…

Abstract

Purpose

The dynamic nature and complexity of construction projects make it challenging to ensure that the engineer-to-order (ETO) materials supplied onsite match changing needs. The quick and efficient communication of required changes in material fabrication, delivery and use, due to changes in the design and construction schedules, is needed to address the challenges. This study aims to provide a novel integrated management framework with its embedded informatics to help major stakeholders efficiently absorb agility during communication to deal with required changes and improve workflows.

Design/methodology/approach

An integrated management framework is developed that integrates the milestones in look-ahead plans and structured iterative processes for major supply chain stakeholders to quickly disseminate information emanating from changes in design, schedules, production and transportation. A prototype system is devised including the informatics to support the framework, which consists of BIM-RFID functional modules and a central database and uses a client-server architecture. The usefulness of the prototype is illustrated using a construction of part of a fictive but realistic high-rise building.

Findings

The integrated management framework with the informatics provides major stakeholders with the ability to coordinate their activities efficiently and stimulate their agility (measured by process time) in planning and controlling material information. Although only a fictive example was used, it is shown that the use of the system is likely to result in a substantial reduction in the time required to deal with required changes when delivering ETO materials onsite (by 18% in the example).

Research limitations/implications

The functionalities of the prototype system can be easily scaled up to coordinate changes in the design and scheduling of other types of materials. More functional developments are needed to show the extent of the possible improvement for entire construction projects. Future work should focus on investigating the possible improvements for other types and sizes of construction projects, and eventually in real-world construction projects.

Practical implications

By fitting the look-ahead plans into structured iterative processes through digital data sharing, stakeholders increased their capability to quickly capture required change information and resolve associated problems. This is particularly useful for the management of ETO supply chain processes, where prefabricated elements such as ductwork, plumbing, and mechanical systems typically have to be modified because of last-minute design and schedule changes.

Originality/value

Unlike traditional information technology (IT) based supply chain management practices, this research is characterized by a process-centered management framework that provides explicit decision points over iterative planning processes for major stakeholders to manage material information. The iterations through digital data sharing allow stakeholders to quickly respond to last-minute changes on site, which fundamentally achieves workflow agility in the construction supply chain context.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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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

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Article
Publication date: 3 September 2018

Athena Maria Perez and Somik Ghosh

Documented evidence supports the improvements resulting from the use of the Last Planner System® (LPS) as a lean construction technique; however, several barriers to the…

Abstract

Purpose

Documented evidence supports the improvements resulting from the use of the Last Planner System® (LPS) as a lean construction technique; however, several barriers to the implementation of the technique have been identified. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the implementation process of LPS by a project team that is transitioning from the traditional planning and control to LPS on a typical commercial project. The paper compares the adopted implementation process with that of the recommended best practices and identifies the overlaps and variances.

Design/methodology/approach

An in-depth case study was conducted to accomplish the specific objectives: document the process of LPS implementation in detail; identify the overlaps and variance from the recommended practices; and investigate the causes for variance from the recommended practices. The authors used direct observations, document investigations and semi-structured interviews with key project participants to gather data. Constant comparison and content analysis were used as data analysis method for this study.

Findings

The paper identified critical barriers to the implementation process of LPS in the case study project, which are supported by existing literature and are considered typical of project teams that are new adopters and transitioning to the implementation of LPS.

Research limitations/implications

Based on a single case study, the outcomes may lack generalizability. However, similar findings of existing literature and evaluations by the project personnel substantiated the findings of the study.

Originality/value

The study attempted to conduct a systematic investigation on the implementation process of LPS, which is a less investigated topic. The paper draws attention to the major barriers experienced while adopting LPS in the case study project and suggested possible ways to address similar issues in the future. The barriers experienced by the case study project are typical of project teams who are new adopters and transitioning to the adoption of LPS, process and have the potential to be alleviated through the recommended practice implementation and process maintenance strategy.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 25 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 15 May 2017

Emmanuel Itodo Daniel, Christine Pasquire, Graham Dickens and Herman Glenn Ballard

The purpose of this paper is to identify how the newly emerging UK practice of “collaborative planning” (CP) for construction project delivery aligns with the advocated…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify how the newly emerging UK practice of “collaborative planning” (CP) for construction project delivery aligns with the advocated principles of the global last planner system (LPS) of production planning and control.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed, qualitative, exploratory approach was adopted for the study. This entailed qualitative data through three techniques, namely: semi-structured interviews, documents analysis, and structured observation. In total, 30 in-depth interviews were conducted over a 12 month period with lean construction consultants, clients, main contractors, and subcontractors drawn from the building, highways and infrastructure and rail sector. In all, 15 projects were visited where practices were observed.

Findings

The study reveals that the current practice of CP in the UK partially aligns with the LPS principles. Where practitioners have heard of the LPS they believe it to be the same practice as CP.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited to 30 interviews, observation of 15 projects and document analysis. The aim of the study is not to generalise the findings, however, since the study examined top construction companies and practitioners in the UK and the findings were consistent across the sample, some conclusions could be made. The study is also limited to examining the construction phase only, future studies should incorporate the design phase.

Practical implications

A clear identification of the elements of current practice compared to the components of the LPS provides a contribution to the future practice of project production planning and management in the construction industry.

Social implications

The study highlights a continuing resistance to collaboration within the industry. This resistance is subtly embedded within implemented practices even though they are based on collaborative working for their success.

Originality/value

This is among the first studies in the UK that comprehensively examines and reports the application of LPS/CP practice in construction across the major construction sectors. Future studies could build on the findings from this work to develop an approach/methodology to improve the current practice.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 18 June 2019

Bassam A. Tayeh, Khalid Al Hallaq, Hafiz Zahoor and Abdulla H. Al Faqawi

The purpose of this paper is to prioritize the vital tools/techniques for the effective implementation of the last planner system (LPS) in the cross-cultural setting of a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to prioritize the vital tools/techniques for the effective implementation of the last planner system (LPS) in the cross-cultural setting of a developing country, i.e. Gaza Strip. Besides, the potential benefits of implementing LPS are prioritized.

Design/methodology/approach

The significant techniques and likely benefits of LPS implementations were identified through comprehensive literature, followed by their verification through a pilot study. The quantitative data were collected using a questionnaire survey from 89 companies, operating in the Gaza Strip construction industry. The relative important index was calculated for prioritizing the significant tools/techniques (16) which support the effective LPS implementation, and highlighting the potential benefits (10) achieved through LPS implementation.

Findings

The results showed that the “use of visual devices to spread information in the construction site,” “attendance of key actors” and “look ahead plan” are the most important tools/techniques supporting LPS implementation. The top three potential benefits of implementing LPS include: “allows a better understanding of the program control,” “maximizes the co-operation and confidence among team members” and “allows the manager to better visualize the work program.” To prevent any waste in project time and to ensure the material supply and continuity of works, the study recommends advance supply and storage of demand materials, and early availability of the shop-drawings for acceptance by the superintendent.

Practical implications

The study’s findings are expected to guide the key construction stakeholders to prioritize their energies toward effective LPS implementation in the Gaza Strip.

Originality/value

Though this study pertains to Palestine, its methodology can be generalized in other countries and regions, having a similar work environment, after making necessary cultural adjustments.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 26 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 10 December 2009

Irmani Darlington and Kathleen Boyle

What does personalisation mean for a support provider? Before we go too far down the route of answering this question, we first need to look at a more basic question: what…

Abstract

What does personalisation mean for a support provider? Before we go too far down the route of answering this question, we first need to look at a more basic question: what does personalisation mean?

Details

Housing, Care and Support, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-8790

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Andrew Stewart Herbst

The purpose of this paper is to describe the knowledge management (KM) loop process in a work package (WP)-based project engineering management method. The purpose of the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the knowledge management (KM) loop process in a work package (WP)-based project engineering management method. The purpose of the KM loop is the routine capture of learnings to improve work practices in both the project and the firm.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual model for a project KM loop is developed by researching various KM theories found in the literature and incorporating the most applicable concepts and bridging any gaps in an attempt to overcome the reported impediments to learning in projects. A specific WP-based project engineering method (the STBQ method) is chosen as the framework for illustrating the workings and advantages of the KM loop. The author’s experiential judgement is used in applying selected academic concepts to create a KM process particularly useful for consulting engineering firms engaged in the detailed design phase of heavy industrial projects notwithstanding the fact that it may be beneficial in other project environments.

Findings

Completion of a WP can be used as a natural point in time for the collection of lessons learned (LL). At post-WP debriefing meetings, intuitive learnings can be contributed by individuals and interpreted in the context of the recently completed WP. When seen to be applicable, the project engineer integrates this newly gained experiential knowledge into the project’s job instructions for immediate implementation on other WPs remaining in the project scope. Through the project manager, these new or revised job instructions are proposed as candidates for new or revised standard practices to the senior managers of the engineering firm who can institutionalize them by approval for use in other in-progress or future projects.

Research limitations/implications

The KM loop described here is specifically intended to be used with the STBQ method where the 100 per cent rule is applied and where each WP sub-team is tasked with the delivery of their WP safely, on-time, on-budget and with no quality deficiencies as the criteria for success of their WP. A research limitation is that capturing learnings throughout the project does not solve the problem of capturing post-project learnings from design errors surfacing during construction, in commissioning, or after start-up during on-going operations and maintenance. Nonetheless, innovative ideas and improvements can be found during the detailed engineering phase and the KM loop captures these for intra-project and inter-project use.

Practical implications

The extra effort of decomposing requirements into WPs not only helps control project costs, schedule, quality and safety but also provides an effective way to capture knowledge from project learnings for intra-project and inter-project use.

Social implications

The lessons-learned sessions held at the completion of each WP provides an opportunity to provide motivation and morale boosting to the WP sub-team members.

Originality/value

This paper contributes what is believed to be the first WP-based KM loop in project engineering management using a specific application of the 4I framework of organizational learning. In addition, when applied in the STBQ method or any other method that uses interim WPs for both planning and reporting, the LL sessions can be pre-scheduled and budgeted separately from the subject WP. This helps to overcome the problem widely reported in projects that not enough calendar time or person-hours can be spared to attend the LL sessions.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2005

Tarcisio Abreu Saurin, Carlos Torres Formoso and Fabricio Borges Cambraia

The purpose is to introduce a safety planning and control (SPC) model that has been integrated into the production planning and control process. The paper is concerned…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose is to introduce a safety planning and control (SPC) model that has been integrated into the production planning and control process. The paper is concerned with the impact of this model on human error control, since both workers' and managers' errors are major contributing factors in accident causation.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis of this impact was based on two stages: the analysis of the main types of human errors detected in five sites in which the model has been implemented and a discussion on how the model contributes to the design of safe work systems from a cognitive engineering perspective.

Findings

The main conclusion is that six elements of the model (safety planning, near miss reporting, training, percentage of safe work packages indicator, participatory cycle, and planning and control diffusion) contribute to make both the boundaries of safe work visible and respected. Safety planning also helps to make the production system error‐tolerant to some extent. However, the analysis of causes of safety failures in the empirical studies pointed out a high incidence of violations of the boundaries (on average, 43.5 percent of the total safety failures), mostly by workers.

Research limitations/implications

Although improvement in the existing mechanisms might make the model more behavior‐oriented, a broader set of measures is necessary to achieve excellence in dealing with human errors. Also, additional empirical data are necessary to clarify the nature and frequency of the human errors that have impact in construction safety.

Originality/value

The model may help in devising more effective tools to reduce errors in construction.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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