The concept of lean was developed by Japanese manufacturing company Toyota to eliminate the waste while delivering qualitative products. Lean production is an approach that focuses on minimising the waste or non-value-added activities, ensuring qualitative deliveries at least cost with higher efficiency.
This approach can be adapted to all other business sectors including construction Industry.The construction industry has not achieved the productivity gains as like many other sectors in last several years. The introduction of lean principles into construction industry paved new way for more efficient productivity and success of projects.
LCM makes the planning and construction processes so transparent that issues are identified early, allowing solutions to be developed at appropriate time. This increases the stability of the project and eliminates the unwanted cost from the project. Many authors have proposed lean construction principles modifying the Basic principles of lean production based on different phases of construction process. Generalised Principles of Lean Construction can be summarised as Customer Focus, Crew Management, Work place Organisation, Waste Elimination (Process Optimization, Supply Chain, Production Scheduling) and Continuous improvement and Built -In Quality.
Tools such as 5s, Kaizen and Last Planar System contribute for the implementation of Lean.Increased schedule reliability and predictability, improved overall results due to increased communication and fewer workers, increased productivity all around due to a higher rate of planning, increased worker accountability and increased job satisfaction resulting in more performance commitment are few of the finest benefits of lean Construction. Lean construction has also limitations like Required experienced and dedicated crew, Team unity, commitment and focus required, Immediate results are uncommon, Training requires significance investment of time and resources, pressure on management, impact on employee morale etc.Lean construction forces all parties to have a clear set of goals, benchmarks and objectives for the end process. Using the lean philosophy, the whole idea is to maximize the performance at every level for the customer.
This includes employees, distributors and all managing parties. These groups are forced to work cohesively throughout the entire project. Every unit of the project works together like a well-oiled machine, meaning that if one piece is loose, everything falls apart.
Current construction models utilize the mass production mind set. Meaning that every job is allocated to just one group with little or no interaction. The lean focus causes all parties to work as one, thus maximizing time and allows more efficient planning and implantation.
The lack of predictability is the main problem in standard construction procedure. Unpredictability results in lost time, waste and stress. The lean philosophy is centred around predictability and flow, thus eliminating most negative aspects.