The Evaluation of Alternative Production System Designs With Discrete Event Simulation

John D. Draper1 & Julio Martinez2

1Ph.D. Candidate, Vecillio Construction Engineering and Management Program, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061. 703/583-9098, jodraper@vt.edu
2Associate Professor, Vecillio Construction Engineering and Management Program, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061. 540/231-9420, julio@vt.edu

Abstract

The business model of the building construction sector of the construction industry has changed very little over the years. The highly fragmented structure of the industry has led to an overwhelming focus on project management vice production control and has resulted in “artificial” constraints that limit the ways in which the physical product actually gets built. These artificial constraints render it difficult if not impossible to design the production system from a product-centric approach. The functionally-aligned traditional approach is characterized by four types of waste: (1) Duplicated direct and indirect overhead expenses generated by the numerous business entities involved in the construction, (2) Multiple mobilization/demobilization cycles, (3) Inability of subcontractors to organize their work as efficiently as they could if the other subcontractors were not in the picture, and (4) Rework to correct components that are damaged, disturbed or knocked out of alignment by others. An alternative production system design is proposed, modeled on a parallel flow system used by Volvo in a final assembly plant in Uddevalla, Sweden. The advantage of this type of arrangement in accommodating variation is demonstrated with a simulation model of an idealized process. A research program is outlined which develops and evaluates with discrete event simulation similar type production system designs for selected building construction processes.

Keywords

Production system design, simulation, parallel process

Files

Reference

Draper, J.D. & Martinez, J. 2002, 'The Evaluation of Alternative Production System Designs With Discrete Event Simulation' In:, Formoso, C.T. & Ballard, G., 10th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Gramado, Brazil, 6-8 Aug 2002.

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