Lean Diagnosis for Chilean Construction Industry: Towards More Sustainable Lean Practices and Tools

José L. Salvatierra11, Luis F. Alarcón2, Angela López3 & Ximena Velásquez4

1Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, Universidad de Santiago de Chile. Av. Ecuador 3659, Estación Central, Santiago, Chile, Phone +56 2 27182818, jose.salvatierra@usach.cl
2Professor, 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
3 Project Consultant, Production Management Consultants - GEPRO, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Edificio Mide UC 3er Piso, Macul, Santiago, Chile, Phone +56 2 2354 7050, alopez@gepro.cl
4 Project Consultant, Production Management Consultants - GEPRO, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Edificio Mide UC 3er Piso, Macul, Santiago, Chile, Phone +56 2 2354 7050, dvelasquez@gepro.cl

Abstract

Construction companies face important challenges to implement and sustain Lean methods, and they need to periodically assess the state of their implementation efforts. This paper presents the results of a collaborative initiative from seven Chilean construction companies to diagnose the implementation state of some aspects of Lean organizations: Philosophy, Culture and Technology. The diagnosis was carried out using data from four different tools: interviews with managers, workshops with Last Planner implementers, visits to projects and planning meetings, and an organizational survey to validate previous results. Despite 90% of managers believe that Lean is central to enhancing their businesses, important barriers to sustain practices were detected such as Last Planner (LP), which was identified as a common tool among those companies. Thus, the most important aspects observed could be summarized as lack of certainty, lack of training, and very limited use of other tools; moreover, important differences were identified with regards to the level of LP implementations. The diagnosis is expected to constitute a base to generate improved company strategies to implement and sustain Lean construction practices, with emphasis in the development of people as a core of Lean organizations.

Keywords

Continuous improvement, Last Planner System, Lean construction, Lookahead

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Reference

Salvatierra1, J.L. , Alarcón, L.F. , López, A. & Velásquez, X. 2015, 'Lean Diagnosis for Chilean Construction Industry: Towards More Sustainable Lean Practices and Tools' In:, Seppänen, O., González, V.A. & Arroyo, P., 23rd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Perth, Australia, 29-31 Jul 2015. pp 642-651

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