Exploratory study of lean construction : assessment of lean implementation

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Date

2002-08

Authors

Kim, Daeyoung

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Abstract

Since Lean Construction has been introduced as a new management approach to improve productivity in the construction industry, much research is in progress to develop lean concepts and principles for better implementation and to get results of the successful adaptation of lean ideas from manufacturing for application in the construction industry. Currently, several construction companies in the USA are starting to implement lean construction with nebulous hopes of obtaining better results from their current projects than from past projects not employing lean construction. There are many difficulties in adopting lean concepts and systems into construction projects and implementing lean construction in real construction sites. Thus, there are demands to share information how other companies implement lean construction, to identify the benefits and barriers of lean implementation in the construction fields, and finally to improve their lean implementation. This study was the first exploratory study to assess lean construction implementation on overall projects. The case studies carried out the examination of the mutual relationships of lean planning systems, organization structure, attitudes of project participants and company strategy which played major influences on successful lean implementation. In conclusion, the study found that lean construction was efficient in managing project with lean tools, and was enough effective to improve other project successful factors associated with project accomplishment. Lean construction emphasized and focused on improvement of relationships among project participants. The study found that lean construction was made up of lean tools, human resources, and company strategies. Thus, successful lean implementation was observed when these lean tools, human resources, and company project strategies were well-combined and mutually supported. Even though lean construction still stood on the bridge crossing from current practice to lean practice, it is the researcher’s conviction that lean construction would be successfully adapted to the construction industry in the near future and would be recognized as an effective management innovation. This study is anticipated to be a framework for future studies in the academic field and for future construction projects employing lean construction.

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