A Production Control Game for Teaching of Location-Based Management System's Controlling Methods

Olli Seppänen1

1Postdoctoral Researcher, Aalto University and Vice President of Services, Vico Software Inc., olli.seppanen@vicosoftware.com


Typical issues seen in the production data of projects which have implemented Location-Based Management System (LBMS) include subcontractors not finishing locations, working in random location sequences, working with smaller or large crew sizes than planned, and starting earlier than planned. LBMS control methods include delaying start dates until enough work is available and controlling production rates to prevent interference. These methods have been difficult to teach because any theoretical material is easily forgotten when actual production starts. The research described in this paper tries to solve the teaching problem. A production control game was defined using a simple, repetitive building. Each subcontractor had a predetermined behavior modeled by variables including preferred crew size, how fast the subcontractor is able to adjust the crew size, and production rates for different crew sizes. The players of the game planned a schedule and implemented control actions when they wanted to influence subcontractors’ behavior. Each group of players utilized the same subcontractors, so the effect of their decisions could be directly compared to other players in the same group. For comparison purposes, a purely heuristical game based on textbook LBMS method and textbook CPM method was also played with each group. Game results show that total duration and total cost have a large variance depending on the control actions taken during the project. Purely theoretical LBMS outperformed all players in all groups. Purely theoretical CPM focusing on the critical path finished last or second to last both in terms of durations and total cost. All the players felt that they understood the impact of their decisions better after finishing the game and comparing the results with others in the same group.


Location-Based Management System, production planning, production control, variability, buffer, production system design



Seppänen, O. 2012, 'A Production Control Game for Teaching of Location-Based Management System's Controlling Methods' In:, Tommelein, I.D. & Pasquire, C.L., 20th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. San Diego, USA, 18-20 Jul 2012.

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