Lean Simulation in Road Construction: Teaching of Basic Lean Principals

Jakob von Heyl1

1Research Assistant, Institute for Construction Management, University of Stuttgart, Pfaffenwaldring 7, 70569 Stuttgart Germany, +49 711 685 66143, [email protected]


Since the first adaption of lean management to the building sector, numerous principals, methods and tools have been successfully adapted, developed and implemented and the term Lean Construction has been coined. However, Lean Construction is often only partially or incorrectly applied. A basic cause is that site management and workers are not familiar with Lean Construction, therefore only reluctantly applying lean methods and tools. But successful application of Lean Construction requires a holistic and determined approach with convinced project participants. Thus a systematic approach to teach basic lean principals and tools is crucial for the acceptance and application of Lean Construction. In this paper a developed simulation game is depicted. A road construction site and its logistics are simulated. In the round based game a logistic chain and the operating grade of a finishing machine are getting optimized. First the traditional planning and execution of the site with its limitations and characteristics are simulated. Afterwards the participants discuss possible improvements. Then the site is simulated once more, this time using lean principles and an active management of bottlenecks. The gained improvements in productivity are examined by the participants and the lessons learnt are described.


Lean construction, action learning, logistics, kanban, flow, collaboration.



Heyl, J. V. 2015. Lean Simulation in Road Construction: Teaching of Basic Lean Principals, 23rd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 403-412. doi.org/

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