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Lean and agile construction - understanding the origins of flow management in a manufacturing setting

  • Full or part time
    Dr R Stratton
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

The Toyota Production System (TPS) introduced a paradigm shift in thinking to automotive manufacture (Womack et al., 1990) that has since been applied to more complex flow environments including healthcare and construction under the label ‘lean’. These environments are characterised by much higher variability and uncertainty requiring greater agility and very different tools and approaches to those adopted by Toyota, however, the underlying paradigm shift from local cost optimisation to systems based flow thinking is still very applicable.

This research aims to better understand the origins of flow management in a manufacturing setting before evaluating the issues in transferring these concepts and tools to a construction setting. The research will particularly focus on the management signalling tools (eg Kanban) that underpin a flow based management system of Toyota. The research is anticipated to investigate the role of related signalling tools in construction, such as Last Planner (Koskela et al., 2010) in facilitating flow control in the short to medium term. Alternative management signalling tools such as CCPM (Stratton, 2009) will also be explored to better understanding how longer term planning can be flow focused.

It is anticipated the exploratory nature of this research will involve case study or action research across one or more construction projects that have or are undertaking systems approaches concerned with adopting a flow management signaling tools.


Koskela, L., Stratton, R. and Koskenvesa, A., 2010. Last planner and critical chain in construction management: comparative analysis .In: 17th Annual Conference, International Group for Lean Construction, Haifa, Israel, 14-16 July 2010 .
Stratton, R., 2009. Critical chain project management theory and practice. In: POMS 20th Annual Conference, Orlando, Florida, USA, 1-4 May.
Womack, J.P., Jones, D.T, and Roos, D., 1990. The Machine that Changed the World,
New York: Macmillan.

Related Subjects

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FTE Category A staff submitted: 23.00

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