Exploring Lean Construction Practice, Research, and Education

ThaĆ­s da C. L. Alves1, Colin Milberg2 & Kenneth D. Walsh3

1 Assistant Professor, J.R. Filanc Construction Engineering and Management Program, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, San Diego State University (SDSU), San Diego, CA, 92182-1324, USA, Phone +1 619/594-8289, talves@mail.sdsu.edu
2Assistant Professor, J.R. Filanc Construction Engineering and Management Program, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, SDSU, cmilberg@mail.sdsu.edu
3Professor, J.R. Filanc Construction Engineering and Management Program, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, SDSU, kwalsh@mail.sdsu.edu

Abstract

Lean Production has been studied for over 20 years, and for many the term is still ill-defined. Our first hypothesis suggests that there are many meanings for Lean when applied to Construction. Our second hypothesis suggests that Lean Construction started not from industry but from a mix of academics and consultants (with strong links to academia) working to translate Lean concepts to construction. We believe that both play a major role in bridging the gap between the theories related to Lean Construction and their implementation. Finally, we have encountered examples of companies and professionals who are eager to benefit from the alleged benefits of Lean Production but few are willing to spend the time and effort necessary to learn it. Our third hypothesis suggests that without a sustained effort to engage people in meaningful learning experiences Lean Construction may be viewed as a fad in the construction industry. We searched the literature and looked for cases with different approaches used to disseminate Lean Production and have found evidence that supports the hypotheses proposed. The paper aims to discuss how lean production transitioned to construction and what researchers and practitioners might do to sustain learning and promote change throughout the industry.

Keywords

Lean implementation, Education, Change

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Reference

Alves, T.D.C.L. , Milberg, C. & Walsh, K.D. 2010, 'Exploring Lean Construction Practice, Research, and Education' In:, Walsh, K. & Alves, T., 18th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Haifa, Israel, 14-16 Jul 2010. pp 435-444

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