This research was prompted in part in response to a recent study by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) that there is a shortage of trained, skilled labor in the construction industry and this shortage is increasing. The QUESTION this paper seeks to address is: Why aren’t construction stakeholders perceiving the value of training and development of employees? The PURPOSE of the research is to develop and test a simulation that will help identify the way building stakeholders view the impact of employee training on their long and short-term profit margins. The RESEARCH METHOD used was two phased: (a) a preliminary phase involving the iterative development and testing of a 50-minute table-top simulation using readily available materials; (b) a mature phase where results from a “perfected” version of the game were subjected to statistical analysis from a larger participant pool. The trials each team went through financially at each round were recorded and results recorded via cash flow diagrams. FINDINGS suggest that players tend to underestimate the importance of upfront training and its impact on long-term cash flows. LIMITATIONS of this research include a restricted sample size that was tested during this phase. IMPLICATIONS and VALUE for this work are potentially larger than that of pure research—i.e. as an opportunity to serve as a change agent as well since a number of respondents suggested that the simulation made them think about the long-term value of training, illustrating the first principle of The Toyota Way. This dual-role for simulations fits easily within the culture of lean construction which historically has used simulations both to understand impacts of certain types of stakeholder behavior as well as transfer comprehension of specific lean principles.
Lean simulation, training, long-term value, skilled-labor shortage
Bhatt, Y. , Rybkowski, Z. K. , Kalantar, N. & Fernández-Solís, J. L. 2016, 'Trainathon Lean Simulation Game: Determining Perceptions of the Value of Training Among Construction Stakeholders' In:, 24th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 20-22 Jul 2016.