This paper focuses on the operationalisation of workflow. It builds on and expands work conducted in relation to a research project on this topic. The OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) concept from the manufacturing industry is discussed and applied to the context of building production. From this discussion, ideas are derived for how to measure the workflow. A premise for the discussion was to include smoothness and quality as well as throughput in the operationalisation of workflow, and to give priority to continuous improvement. The solution suggested as a preliminary conclusion in this paper is based on a workplace survey related to downtime losses, speed losses and defect losses. The intention was to identify time losses in the production according to its different causes, such as the seven flows, “making-do” and rework. The conclusion of the discussion is that unlike the focus of the underlying research project, our operationalisation of workflow should not be based on productivity or throughput; rather, it should focus on work intensity. Work intensity is assumed to be approximately constant, but even with constant work intensity, things are not necessarily done as they should be done, and the tasks are not necessarily sound. The potential for improvement therefore lies in implementing the clarifications built into the Last Planner System. Data from the workplace survey provides the basis both for calculating workflow, and for discussing improvement work at the construction site with reference to concrete examples. The present study contributes towards creating a better understanding of the nature of workflow, and of how it can be measured.
Construction, workflow, OEE, quality, intensity, throughput, productivity, earned-value method