Digital Kanban for Earthwork Site Management

Kim Kirchbach1, Lauri Koskela2 & Fritz Gehbauer3

11 Research Fellow, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute for Technology and Management in Construction, Am Fasanengarten, Geb. 50.31, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany, kim.kirchbach@kit.edu
2Professor, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, Maxwell Building, The Crescent, Salford, M5 4WT, United Kingdom, l.j.koskela@salford.ac.uk
3Professor, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute for Technology and Management in Construction, Am Fasanengarten, Geb. 50.31, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany, fritz.gehbauer@kit.edu

Abstract

In the manufacturing industry the use of information systems based on modern communication techniques, such as Material Requirements Planning (MRP), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems, is standard and has long been deployed with success. But these systems depend on consistency in the production systems, which a construction site is unlikely to offer. Furthermore the construction process is highly fragmented and in comparison to the stationary industry very complex. Due to the dynamics of the processes on earthwork construction sites, new flexible logistic concepts are needed. This paper will present “digital Kanban”; a method to dynamically allocate the best possible match of excavators and transport vehicles at earthwork construction sites. With regard to the principles of jidoka, “intelligence” is transferred to a control centre in order to detect abnormal conditions, enabling it to respond rapidly. Excavators are pulling empty dumpers and dozers are pulling loaded dumpers. In case more than one excavator is requesting a dumper, the current performance of the excavators and their allocated dumpers at the present as well as the distance to be travelled will be analysed. The digital Kanban cards are created at the last responsible moment: If a dumper just unloaded or is fully loaded, it requests a Kanban card and only then the Kanban card will be generated. To quantify the optimization potential, results of stochastic simulations based on the Monte-Carlo method will be introduced.

Keywords

Kanban, IT in Lean, production control, visual management, Lean Construction

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Reference

Kirchbach, K. , Koskela, L. & Gehbauer, F. 2014, 'Digital Kanban for Earthwork Site Management ' In:, Kalsaas, B.T., Koskela, L. & Saurin, T.A., 22nd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Oslo, Norway, 25-27 Jun 2014. pp 663-676

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