Return on Investment in Construction Innovation — a Lean Construction Case Study

Andre Koerckel1 & Glenn Ballard2

1Implementation Leader, Strategic Project Solutions Inc., 1040 Battery Street, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA, Phone: 1-415-362-3200, email: [email protected]
2Dr. Ballard is an Associate Adjunct Professor at the University of California, Berkeley; Research Director of the Lean Construction Institute; and principal of Strategic Project Solutions Inc., e-mail: [email protected]


The construction industry has frequently been criticized for not investing enough in innovation. This relates to both the managerial changes and technological developments required to support this innovation. Extending Lean Manufacturing techniques into the production based environment on one of Europe’s largest and most complex construction projects, Strategic Project Solutions, Inc. (SPS) has worked in collaboration with the joint venture contracting group and the project client to establish new business processes and implement web-based tools which enable workflow control (SPS Production Manager) and management of materials (SPS Materials Manager) at the production level.Further,this process innovation has been coupled with product management in the form of 3D digital prototyping. The outcome of this effort has demonstrated significant tangible and intangible benefits, outweighing the initial investment and further establishing a movement toward innovation that can be extended to other projects across the continent. This paper will act as a case study focusing first on the project challenges;physical,managerial,and contractual. It will then outline the success factors for the implementation of production control, illustrating the process undertaken. Unique case studies within the project will be used to reveal tangible results which exceed industry norms, and also to outline the intangible benefits that contribute to the overall results. These results will then be summarized into learning for the construction industry as a whole


Innovation, Material management, Production control, Return on investment, Workflow



Koerckel, A. & Ballard, G. 2005. Return on Investment in Construction Innovation — a Lean Construction Case Study, 13th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 91-98.

Download: BibTeX | RIS Format