Front End Loading as an Integral Part of the Project Execution Model in Lean Shipbuilding

Mikhail Shlopak1, Jan Emblemsvåg2 & Oddmund Oterhals3

1MSc, Research Assistant, Møreforsking Molde AS, Britvegen 4, NO-6411 Molde, Norway, [email protected],
2PhD, Senior Vice President Innovation and Process Management, Vard Group AS, Molovegen 5, NO-6001 Ålesund, Norway, [email protected],
3Corresponding author. PhD, Research Director Logistics, Møreforsking Molde AS, Britvegen 4, NO-6411 Molde, Norway, [email protected],


This paper addresses issues related to planning within the pre-contract phase of shipbuilding projects – issues that will facilitate lean execution of later construction phases. In the existing literature on Front End Loading (FEL) there can be identified a certain gap with regards to application of FEL in shipbuilding industry, which this paper attempts to partially fill. The first part of this paper reviews literature on the concept of FEL (also referred to as Pre-Project Planning, Early Project Planning, Feasibility Analysis). The literature review focuses on application of the FEL approach in different project-oriented industries, with major attention paid to application of FEL in megaprojects and building projects. Based on this study of theoretical concepts and experiences of their use, an adequate FEL concept tailored to shipbuilding industry is proposed in the second part of the paper. The paper also features the analysis of opportunities of transition and adaptation of some of the Value Improving Practices (VIPs) used in megaprojects to the shipbuilding industry. Vard Group AS, a Norwegian shipbuilder constituting together with the majority owner Fincantieri Group the fourth largest shipbuilding group in the world, is taken as a case company.


Front End Loading, Pre-Project Planning, Lean Project Planning, Lean Shipbuilding.



Shlopak, M. , Emblemsvåg, J. & Oterhals, O. 2014, 'Front End Loading as an Integral Part of the Project Execution Model in Lean Shipbuilding' In:, Kalsaas, B. T., Koskela, L. & Saurin, T. A., 22nd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Oslo, Norway, 25-27 Jun 2014. pp 207-220

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