Construction sector in India is one sector which is relatively the most unorganized sector. Understanding of the past as well as current practices, have reach to a certain level of conclusion that construction sector practices in India are inadequate and its performance will continue to decline as projects become more uncertain, complex and pressed for speed. Also construction industry has an unfortunate record on innovation when compared to other industries such as manufacturing.
The problems of construction sector are well known. Organizations in India reasonably focus on the scheduling and planning of the construction projects but in reality lead to cost and time over runs. To avoid such over runs, quality is disregarded and subsequently gets deteriorated. Occupational safety is notoriously worse than in other industries. Sometimes due to inferior working conditions, there are also work force shortages in construction sector. All these factors results into low returns and loss of big projects to international firms indicating real problems of competitiveness in construction firms in India.
Construction projects involve several groups such as owners, designers, general contractor, sub-contractors and suppliers their coordination is crucial to the success. There is a pressing need to develop and improve current construction process.
Output of the construction projects has two major concerns:
Productivity (In terms of cost, time and material used)
Quality (Material used and of the final product)
Manufacturing has always been the reference point on innovations for other industries. Another development trend in manufacturing which is having a great impact is Lean Management, Lean concept originates from manufacturing industry thought of by Eiiji Toyoda and Taiichi Ohno who studied the production system of Ford Motors.
Lean Management through its Total Flow Management (TFM) views that the organizations should be analyzed through its various flows like from order to cash, from raw materials to delivery etc. and not through departments. This will buttress the current CPM/PERT techniques used in the sector there by reducing the Through Put Time (TPT).
Inventory is managed on the basis of the schedules planned but learned results shows that it either end up over stocking or stock out situations, which are the two key elements of the inventory devil. Both are equally dangerous which impact the bottom line profits of the organization. Lean Management principles, through its Total Service Management (TSM) model helps organizations develop individual Inventory Models for Raw materials, Work In Progress etc. leading to JIT across the supply chain. Inventory is no more in the warehouse but unloaded directly in the supermarkets created to point of use.
Total Quality management (TQM) would keep a track on the variance between expected quality standards and the resulting standards in the continual basis. All the tools integrated well within the organizations will lead to more practical solutions to let alone cost and time over runs in construction projects.
Prior observations on sites and also of organizations have indicated that wastages in construction industry in India are quite high and process improvement may help it become more efficient and competitive in India as well as globally.
Selecting the principles and Lean tools most suited to the Indian construction industry are of utmost importance.
The formulation of theoretical foundation (Model) for lean construction by abstracting the core concepts of Lean Management by using it as source of innovation also integrating it with tools of current project management and applying them to the management of construction processes is key to profitability in the construction sector.
Author: – Manisha Goyal
Manisha Goyal, student of MTM, CEPT along with her guide: Nilesh Arora, Director, Add Value Consulting Inc. (AVCI), the leading global lean manufacturing training & consulting firm assisting organizations transform in Totality by lean training, workshops, counselling.