Production Planning With the Last Planner System on Construction Projects in Sweden : An Exploratory Case Study of Challenges and Improvement Measures
Abstract: One of the main assumptions in conventional production process is that each component or part of the production process can be controlled separately as if they are not dependent on anything. This assumption gives rise to problems such as need of effective collaboration with different actors and constraints in budgets. Conventional planning process also causes delay as well as cost overruns which ultimately leads to reduction in productivity.The Last Planner system, LPS, is a tool used in the construction sector with the goal of streamlining production. The tool has several advantages, for example, to make collaboration between different actors more efficient, achieve a better workflow and increase production efficiency. The purpose of this masters’ thesis is to explore how two construction projects in Stockholm work with LPS. Apart from the fact that LPS provides many advantages in the production planning of the projects, this study aims to explore the challenges that they face while working with LPS. The goal of this study is to be able to suggest improvement measures for the challenges that the projects are facing.Semi-structured interviews were conducted on both projects to understand how they work with LPS and what challenges they face. The results section contains the information from the interviews. That is then discussed against the theory on which the Last Planner system is built.The conclusion of this study is that the production planning in the projects differs from how the tool should be used according to the framework of LPS. Learning, which emphasizes what has been done during the project, is a phase in LPS's framework. According to one of the founders of the LPS system, ‘learning’ is the most important phase. However, due to the lack of time, the studied projects were not able to involve the learning phase into their production planning. The projects faced several challenges, including repeated changes from the design teams, which entailed new actions during the project. Also, the involvement of the construction workers in the planning phases came out as a big challenge for the managers. Furthermore, communication problems and lack of cooperation with subcontractors is also present. Some of the improvement measures suggested to meet the challenges are that managers should increase commitment to involve especially construction workers in the planning phases, create nucleus teams, create a standard protocol for how production planning should be implemented, and improve visual planning to enhance communication.
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