Lean Construction Management in Spain

This is a case study for the Production Management in Design and Construction guide. It explains how Drees and Sommer used Lean Construction Management (LCM) and integrating the complete supply chain to construct a 97,000 m2 building for a car plant within six months.

Staff during a daily pre-shift meeting. Foremen used these as an opportunity to set daily performance goals
Staff during a daily pre-shift meeting. Foremen used these as an opportunity to set daily performance goals

Executive Summary

In 2013 a car manufacturer expanded its plant by adding a 97,000 m2 production hall within a demanding schedule driven by a decision to shift of production capacity from Belgium to Spain. The new building had to be completed within the existing operating plant and within a five month window to secure the hand over to the technology department for the installation of the equipment. By implementing Lean Construction Management (LCM) and integrating the complete supply chain from the manufacture of parts to the construction site, Drees & Sommer completed the project ahead of this demanding schedule.

Introduction

A car manufacturer decided to expand the capacity of its plant with the construction of a new production hall. A central refrigeration plant had to be moved and a training centre demolished to make way for the new building. Site development for the production hall included the construction of new roads and parking lots, the relocation of a fire ring main, IT cabling as well as sewers and storm water pipes. The priority of the manufacturer was meeting the specified date for the installation of the production plant in July 2013. For this reason, the company opted to award all planning and construction services to a Spanish general contractor who trained in the use of the Production Management System on site.

What we did

Drees & Sommer (D&S) joined the project at the beginning of the construction phase. After a brief analysis, the team established a robust schedule for the general contractor. The schedule was developed together using Overall Process Analysis, a way to work collaboratively on the development of the schedule with a strong focus on processes and bottleneck resources. The most important bottleneck was material delivery and so the supply chain was integrated in the process from the beginning.

D&S first had to convince the general contractor, the planning team, the supply chain partners and the companies’ own project team that the production management approach would deliver the project on schedule and benefit all parties. Having done this D&S implemented a production control system on site and began to work collaboratively with the parties to develop the overall process for the project detailed down to a daily basis. This schedule was set out on planning boards so that everybody on site could access it.

Improvement board for lean construction management
Figure 1. Improvement Board for lean construction management

Thereafter the subcontractors held a weekly look ahead meeting and defined together the scope of work for the next weeks. In a daily pre shift meeting the foreman met in front of the planning boards to set the performance goal for the day. At the end of the shift the whole team met again to assess the work that had been completed and measure progress for the day. D&S implemented daily and weekly improvement meetings to identify problems early and to drive continuous improvement on site.

Work areas and daily tracking of the ongoing work on site in lean construction management
Figure 2. Work areas and daily tracking of the ongoing work on site in lean construction management
Detailed daily planning, production control
Figure 3. Detailed daily planning, production control in lean construction management

The main bottleneck in the schedule for work on site was the link into the supply chain, especially regarding the delivery of the steel structure. The status of production and delivery of the fabricated steelwork was checked at the supplier’s factory against the requirements of the detailed schedule for the next four weeks in the production control system. This ensured that the components were delivered on time and in the right sequence and led to faster construction and smooth logistics without incurring additional costs.

Another bottleneck was the link into the design team to ensure the provision of drawings and specifications in time for the start of fabrication of components and construction on site. Particularly challenging was the fact that planning was not completed at the start of construction and had to be completed during ongoing work.

This production control system on site embraced all of the parties and the manufacturers’ own staff to the general contractor and the suppliers. It included weekly meetings in which suppliers defined together the scope of work for the next four weeks and daily pre-shift meetings in which the foremen met in front of the planning boards to set performance goals for the day. After these shifts the whole team usually met again to assess the degree of progress for the day. These particularly daily and weekly improvement meetings in line with set key performance indicators contributed both towards early identification of problems on site, and continuous improvement of the total works on site.

Daily pre-shift meeting in lean construction management
Figure 4. Daily pre-shift meeting in lean construction management

Benefits and Outcomes

In July 2013, after only six months, the structure of the new plant was completed and handed over to installation of the production plant. The project set a new international benchmark for the car manufacturer.

Further Information

Patrick Theis (Managing Director), Drees & Sommer

e: patrick.theis@ds-con.com
t: +49 711 1317-1270

Production Management in Design and Construction guide

There are five steps in the Production Management in Design and Construction guide:

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