The use of buffers (Bf) has been a common production strategy to protect construction processes from the negative impact of variability. Construction practitioners and researchers have proposed different buffering approaches for different production situations and contexts, but practical solutions to manage Bf at operational level in construction projects are not obvious. This research proposes an operational level methodology for Work-In-Process (WIP) Bf management in repetitive projects, using the rational commitment model (RCM). RCM is an operational decision-making tool for production planning and commitment negotiation. RCM helps determine WIPBf sizes for a short-term planning horizon using field information and planning reliability indicators at the construction level instead of variability levels. RCM allows managing WIPBf among different crews involved in construction processes. The proposed methodology was validated in real repetitive projects. An application is used to illustrate the robustness and practicality of RCM to manage WIPBf on-site, which can become a key factor for industry penetration of Bf production strategies based on Lean Production principles.
buffer, lean production, rational commitment model, work-in-process
Gonzalez, V. , Alarcon, L.F. , Maturana, S. , Bustamante, J.A. & Mundaca, F. 2008, 'Work-in-Process Buffer Management Using the Rational Commitment Model in Repetitive Projects' In:, Tzortzopoulos, P. & Kagioglou, M., 16th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Manchester, UK, 16-18 Jul 2008. pp 667-678