In 2005, lean thinking was trialled to improve processes in the construction phase of a highways maintenance project. The trial was undertaken by a partnering framework; those involved were already working in a collaborative environment, and it was thought this would be conducive to introducing lean thinking. The scheme involved resurfacing and deep patching of two four lane carriageways and the provision of concrete protection to eight bridge piers. During the construction phase, a buffered programme, four-week look-ahead programmes and weekly programme plans were used to: undertake constraints analysis; measure planned activities completed each week; and analyse root causes of delay. On completion, the Project Team were interviewed on the successes and failures of using lean thinking on the project. Both problems and benefits were encountered in applying lean to the project. There were some issues with the way that lean was presented and certain improvements to the process were identified so that lean could be continued on other schemes undertaken within the framework, including: ensuring a better understanding of lean thinking and its application in a highways context; adopting some of the analyses as a formal process and measurement tool; and investigating principles of lean thinking outside programme management.
Highways maintenance, implementation, lean processes, partnering framework
Ansell, M. , Holmes, M. , Evans, R. , Pasquire, C. & Price, A. 2007, 'Lean Construction Trial on a Highways Maintenance Project' In:, Pasquire, C.L, C.L. & Tzortzopoulos, P., 15th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. East Lansing, Michigan, USA, 18-20 Jul 2007. pp 119-128