Improving Connectivity and Information Flow in Lean Organizations - Towards an Evidence-Based Methodology

Jorge Flores1, Juan C. Ruiz2, Daniela Alarcón3, Luis F. Alarcón4, José L. Salvatierra5 & Isabel Alarcón6

1PhD Student of School of Psychology, Social Science Faculty, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Macul, Santiago, Chile Phone +56 2 23544639, jflorese@uc.cl
2PhD Student of School of Psychology, Social Science Faculty, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Macul, Santiago, Chile Phone +56 2 23544639, jruizd@uc.cl
3Project Consultant, Centre of Excellence in Production Management, GEPUC, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Edificio Mide UC 3er Piso, Macul, Santiago, Chile, Phone +56 2 2354 7050, dalarcon@gepuc.cl
4Director and Professor, Department of Construction Engineering and Management, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Edificio San Agustín 3er Piso, Macul, Santiago, Chile, Phone +56 2 2354 4244, lalarcon@ing.puc.cl
5Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Av. Ecuador 3659, Estación Central, Santiago, Chile, Phone +56 2 27182818, jose.salvatierra@usach.cl
6Investigatión and Development Manager, Centre of Excellence in Production Management, GEPUC, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Edificio Mide UC 3er Piso, Macul, Santiago, Chile, Phone +56 2 23547249, ialarcon@gepuc.cl

Abstract

Lean organizations focus on effectively delivering value to their customers, understanding value as defined by their customer’s perspective, thus flexibility and fast adaptation to client’s demands have become a requirement for competitiveness. This adaptation demands a continuous and coordinated flow of information among processes which in first instance are mediated by people. People and their connectivity play a fundamental role in the success or failure of projects, and should be managed and improved continuously. Improving connectivity and information flow requires a methodology that allows not only understanding the current state, but also to effectively control and check the actions taken by the organizations based on clear and objective evidence. This paper aims at discussing the initial development of a methodology based on the experience of applying it on five Chilean Construction Companies. The proposed methodology integrates social network analysis (SNA) as a diagnostic tool, inferential statistics analysis (ISA) to further study the current state and discussion round tables (DRT1 and 2) with key members of the organizations in order to translate SNA and ISA results into the organizations specific context. The initial applications have allowed to carry out complex organizational diagnostics and to achieve simple, localized, quick and inexpensive interventions of information flow improvement based on quantifiable evidence. To enhance performance of this tool future research should be focused on measuring the impact of these interventions. The continuous focus on people and their connectivity will take the industry one step closer to true adaptable and flexible Lean Organizations.

Keywords

SNA, LEAN Culture, information flow, Organizational Diagnostic, Connectivity

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Reference

Flores, J. , Ruiz, J.C. , Alarcón, D. , Alarcón, L.F. , Salvatierra, J.L. & Alarcón, I. 2014, 'Improving Connectivity and Information Flow in Lean Organizations - Towards an Evidence-Based Methodology' 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 1109-1120

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