The benefits of pull production systems are well reported in the literature. Some authors argue that those benefits can be achieved through the control of work-in-progress (WIP) levels. However, when the construction project uses Engineered-To-Order (ETO) building systems, each production phase (namely design, fabrication, and site installation) may require a different batch size. The task of reducing batch size become more complex, since the production system needs a systemic view of the project flow. The paper discusses the concept of a pull system, based on the idea of controlling WIP, in a less repetitive environment. Design Science research was the methodological approach adopted in this investigation, in which an empirical study was carried out in partnership with a Steel Fabricator. Several sources of evidence have been used, such as participant observation, semi-structured interviews, document analysis, direct observation, and analysis of existing databases. The study revealed that the definition of the minimum batch in this context must consider both how the assembly process is carried out on site, and also how components are transported. The implementation of a method to control WIP in the plant contributed for reducing lead-times and inventory levels, and made project delivery more reliable
Engineer-to-order, work-in progress control, prefabricated building systems
Trevisan, G. , Viana, D. & Formoso, C. 2016, 'Role of Loading Plans in the Control of Work in Progress for Engineer-to-Order Prefabricated Building Systems' In:, 24th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Boston, USA, 20-22 Jul 2016.