Simulating Lean Production Principles in Construction: A Last Planner-Driven Game

Vicente A. González1, Bolivar Senior2, Francisco Orozco3, Luis Fernando Alarcon4, Jason Ingle5 & Andrew Best6

1PhD, Senior Lecturer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. E-Mail: v.gonzalez@auckland.ac.nz
2PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Construction Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. E-Mail: bolivar.senior@colostate.edu
3PhD, Assistant Professor, Engineering School, Universidad Panamericana Campus Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Mexico. E-mail: forozco@up.edu.mx
4Professor, Department of Construction Engineering and Management, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile. E-mail: lalarcon@ing.puc.cl
5Civil Engineer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. E-Mail: jing028@aucklanduni.ac.nz
6Civil Engineer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. E-Mail: abes014@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Abstract

Simulations and classroom games are effective hands-on learning tools for construction students and practitioners. This paper presents the background, methods and results of a new management game which simulates some aspects of the Last Planner System (LPS™) and lean production. LPS is central to the implementation of Lean Construction, an increasingly popular management approach based on the Toyota Production System. LPS requires continuous and collaborative effort from all stakeholders for the planning and control of a construction project, making it especially appropriate for the experiential learning allowed by simulation. The simulation game consists of the assembly of Lego™ pieces to form a schematic house, and it is played by teams meeting in rounds simulating one week of work. Each team is composed of stakeholders, such as a construction manager, resource suppliers and trade foremen, mirroring the planning and assembly process of a typical construction project. Participants build the Lego houses first using a traditional management approach and then using LPS and lean principles and procedures. This paper also describes the main components of the Toyota Production System as applied by Lean Construction, and provides an introduction to LPS as well as a description of the simulation rules and setup. A Case Study of the simulation game is discussed, including its implementation and effectiveness as a teaching tool. The implementation results of the simulation game demonstrated its capability to effectively teach LPS and lean-based management approaches in construction.

Keywords

Last Planner, Lean Construction, Learning, Management Games.

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Reference

González, V.A. , Senior, B. , Orozco, F. , Alarcon, L.F. , Ingle, J. & Best, A. 2014, 'Simulating Lean Production Principles in Construction: A Last Planner-Driven Game' 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 1221-1232

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