To Measure Workflow and Waste. A Concept for Continuous Improvement

Bo Terje Kalsaas1, Mariann Gundersen2 & Truls Olav Berge3

1Professor, Dr.Ing., Department of working life and innovation, University of Agder, 4879 Grimstad, Norway, Phone +47 97082582, e-mail: bo.t.kalsaas@uia.no
2 MSc student, Faculty of Engineering and Science, University of Agder, 4879 Grimstad, Norway, Phone +47 91722935, e-mail: marg07@student.uia.no
3MSc student, Faculty of Engineering and Science, University of Agder, 4879 Grimstad, Norway, Phone +47 40492000, e-mail: trulsb12@student.uia.no

Abstract

Measuring workflow applied in a strategy for continuous improvement can be an imperative method for making production of buildings leaner. This paper sums up a research project, which has spanned 3-4 years, aiming to find a method to measure workflow with a continuous improvement approach. Two main methods are documented, one based on data gathering by observation and one by individual reports by the workmen. Workflow in site production is conceptualized as “all types of work conducted within available working hours – except obstructions such as downtime, rework and other forms of waste subtracted”. To complement the findings from the research project, the paper further addresses the method to measure workflow as handover of work between trades, which lays the foundation for the Last Planner System (LPS). The research project delivers extensive empirical material as to how time is used on construction sites. The empirical results show a notable amount of waste in several construction projects. The paper contributes to the understanding of workflow and waste in the production of buildings, and for practical purposes, methods for measuring workflow and observable waste are documented, in order that they can be applied in continuous improvement work at construction sites.

Keywords

Workflow, measurement, continuous improvement, waste, construction

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Reference

Kalsaas, B.T. , Gundersen, M. & Berge, T.O. 2014, 'To Measure Workflow and Waste. A Concept for Continuous Improvement ' 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 835-846

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