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Discussion of “Improving labor flow reliability for better productivity as lean construction principle” by H. Randolph Thomas, Michael J. Horman, R. Edward Minchin Jr., and Dong Chen

Ballard, G, Koskela, LJ, Howell, G and Tommelein, ID 2005, 'Discussion of “Improving labor flow reliability for better productivity as lean construction principle” by H. Randolph Thomas, Michael J. Horman, R. Edward Minchin Jr., and Dong Chen' , Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 131 (5) , pp. 615-616.

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Abstract

Thomas et al.’s paper has the stated objective, “…to test whether improving flow reliability improves construction productivity.” They understand flow in terms of both the flow of work, that on which resources are to be expended, and of labor. Improving flow reliability is said to be a lean construction principle, and it is concluded to be valid. However, they argue that advocates of lean construction have overemphasized work flow and underemphasized labor flow as a means for improving labor productivity. They present case studies to show that failures to manage flows substantially reduce labor productivity. A 51% loss of efficiency is attributed to flow management failures; 58% of those losses are attributed to failures in labor flow management and 42% to failures in work flow management. We reject the authors’ conclusion, as it misunderstands the problem to be solved, rests on a faulty argument that mischaracterizes the approach it criticizes, and proposes a solution that compounds the problem.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > T Technology > TS Manufactures > TS155-194 Production management. Operations management
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment
Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment > Salford Centre for Research & Innovation (SCRI)
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Construction Engineering and Management
Publisher: American Society of Civil Engineers
Refereed: No
ISSN: 0733-9364
Depositing User: LJ Koskela
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2010 10:18
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 16:19
References: Ballard, H. G. ~2000!. “The Last Planner System of production control.” PhD dissertation, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Univ. of Birmingham, Table 3.1, p. 3–7. “Hispanic workers die at higher rate.” ~2001!. New York Times, July 16, A 11. Oglesby, C. A., Parker, H. W., and Howell, G. A. ~1989!. Productivity improvement in construction, McGraw-Hill, New York.
URI: http://usir.eprints.org/id/eprint/9381

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