Improving the Delivery Process for Engineered-To-Order Products - Lessons Learned from Power Distribution Equipment

Jan A. Elfving1, Iris D. Tommelein2 & Glenn Ballard3

1Postdoctoral Scholar, Civil and Envir. Engrg. Department, 215 McLaughlin Hall, Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1712, USA, FAX: 510/643-8919, elfving@ce.berkeley.edu
2Professor, Civil and Envir. Engrg. Department, 215-A McLaughlin Hall, Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA 94 720-1712, USA, 510/643-8678, FAX: 510/643-8919, tommelein@ce. berkeley.edu, www.ce.berkeley.edu/~tommelein
3Research Director, Lean Construction Institute, 4536 Fieldbrook Road, Oakland, CA 94619, 888/771-9207, FAX 510/530-2048, ballard@ce.berkeley.edu: Associate Adjunct Professor, Civil and En vir. Engrg. Department, 215-A McLaughlin Hall, Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA 94 720-1712

Abstract

Scholars and practitioners have long advocated the benefits of reduced lead times. Moreover, most, if not all members of a delivery process would gain from reduced lead times. However, the construction industry has been slow to radically reduce lead times, particularly for Engineered-To-Order (ETO) products. This paper presents key findings from a four-year study, where the objective was to improve the performance of the delivery process of ETO products with particular interest in lead time reduction of power distribution equipment. Data were collected from the US and Finland from owners, users/operators, architects, electrical engineers, project management firms/general contractors, electrical contractors, and equipment manufacturers. The paper summarizes the main causes for the long lead times, ranging from 79 to133 weeks, highlights improvement suggestions, and describes potential barriers. The data surprised the authors and industry practitioners in many ways, e.g., with respect to the relative distributions of the various phases in the delivery process, the labor hours spent on competitive bidding, and the high number of changes. The improvement suggestions were estimated to reduce the process lead time by 20-40% of the total delivery time. Also, at least 15-20% of labor hours may be saved throughout the process.

Keywords

Engineered-to-Order product, equipment, lead time, lean construction, manufacturing procurement, process improvement, switchboard

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Reference

Elfving, J.A. , Tommelein, I.D. & Ballard, G. 2004, 'Improving the Delivery Process for Engineered-To-Order Products - Lessons Learned from Power Distribution Equipment' In:, Bertelsen, S. & Formoso, C.T., 12th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Helsingør, Denmark, 3-5 Aug 2004.

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