Looking for What Could Be Wrong: An Approach to Lean Thinking

Paulo Andery1, Antonio N. Carvalho, Jr.2 & Horacio Helman3

1Department of Materials Engineering and Construction, Escola de Engenharia da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, R. Espírito Santo, 35 - 30160-030 Belo Horizonte MG Brazil, Phone: 55 31 238 1850, Fax: 55 31 238 1857, e-mail: paulo@demc.ufmg.br
2Department of Materials Engineering and Construction, Escola de Engenharia da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, R. Espírito Santo, 35 - 30160-030 Belo Horizonte MG Brazil, Phone: 55 31 238 1850, Fax: 55 31 238 1857, e-mail: paulo@demc.ufmg.br
3Department of Materials Engineering and Construction, Escola de Engenharia da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, R. Espírito Santo, 35 - 30160-030 Belo Horizonte MG Brazil, Phone: 55 31 238 1850, Fax: 55 31 238 1857, e-mail: paulo@demc.ufmg.br

Abstract

The present paper points out the idea that in order to achieve quality assurance and reliability improvement in construction processes, lean thinking practice should incorporate a rarely used method in civil construction process design. It requires to consider “what shall we do to make things go on” and also an effort to searching for “what could be wrong (and we do not know)”. This approach to process design contains the basic idea that some failures causes are implicit in building procedures, and an analysis of potential failure root causes may be done in order to find them out, thus anticipating future problems. This approach to process design - “searching for what could be wrong”- will provide a filter to “time bombs”, built-in problems in the construction conversions and flows activities. The analysis will involve the establishment of countermeasures to potential failure modes. The use of failure analysis methods (FMEA - Failure Modes and Effects Analysis and FTA - Fault Tree Analysis) in order to implement this approach is proposed and a strategy for the application of those tools, as well as some difficulties in their application, are presented and discussed.

Keywords

Process design review, failure analysis, construction process reliability.

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Reference

Andery, P. , Carvalho, Jr., A.N. & Helman, H. 1998, 'Looking for What Could Be Wrong: An Approach to Lean Thinking' In:, 6th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Guarujá, Brazil, 13-15 Aug 1998.

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