Last Planner System

Efficient construction processes, transparency & collaborative work.

Table of content
Fakten zur Kritischer Pfad MethodeVorteile des Last Planner Systems

The Last Planner System is a collaborative production system for one-off custom-made products, such as Planning and building a bridge. This allows project managers to significantly improve their productivity, as well as customer & user satisfaction. The Last Planner System connects people, systems & business processes. This allows project teams to leverage the experience and insights of all stakeholders to generate the greatest possible value (when generating a reasonable return for all stakeholders). In doing so, the LPS reduces waste and maximizes efficiency during all phases of the project, from project development to planning and construction. Starting with the first design and ending at the time of the project handover.

The Last Planner System-Summary

The system was developed in the 1980s by Glenn Ballard and Greg Howell. They have developed the system based on research to improve productivity in construction processing to improve predictability and reliability in construction production.

The Last Planner system allows production planning and related decisions to be mapped at the process level. This makes it possible to collaboratively develop all information between the project participants & commitments.

Last Planner was first used as a short-cycle project planning system in engineering. Since then, it has enabled a significant optimization of the planning and construction process, reliability, productivity, speed of project implementation, profit and well-being of project staff. Thus, the Last Planner System offers a method for collaborative project execution and for the timely completion of the project. Because it identifies problems and difficulties at an early stage and accelerates the finding of solutions before they impede the flow of work (construction process).

This makes it a link between logistics and execution structures, which is why more and more companies are setting the LPS as the standard in project execution. This is because the promotion of collaboration and communication creates conversations between the trades at a level of detail that highlights problems before they become truly critical. Finally, activities on the construction site can also be put into a continuous flow, reducing bottle necks and waiting times.

How does the LPS work?

LPS-systematic & process-oriented to project success

Visual, structured & collaborative process planning for projects

How it works

Prototyping and project-based work have a great deal in common. Both are based on a process that cannot simply be dictated from above. It is not possible and useful to use outdated methods such as Gantt charts for project management. It is not possible and useful to use outdated methods such as Gantt charts for project management.

  • Employees
  • Material
  • Information
  • Machines & Tools
  • Preparatory activities
  • Common project understanding
  • Environmental factors
  • Safe working environment

The Last Planner System helps to achieve this goal. Below, we show how the system basically works. Based on this system, we adopt the Last Planner system to your needs and projects.

Overall process analysis - Last Planner System

Overall process analysis

The overall process analysis (GPA) generates an overview of the value streams in the production process. The GPA defines and visualizes the processes in each project in a clear and understandable way. This creates a clear picture of the dependencies between the trades. The analysis is then used to gain a common understanding of the project with the participants and to achieve a collaborative attitude to the project. To do this, internal and external customer requirements are jointly defined in order to optimize the processes in this regard. The Last Planner System directly reveals possible risks and bottlenecks as well as opportunities and potential for improvement.

Milestone & phase plan - Last Planner System

Milestone & phase plan

A milestone/phase plan is derived from the overall process analysis, in which the weekly work packages are visualized. First of all, the relevant project milestones, such as the project milestones, will be used. Submission building application, beginning earthworks, shell dense, technical equipment finished, acceptance milestones & commissioning, defined. The project team then collaboratively develops a pull plan (see also Pull Principle) to validate milestone planning from back to front. Especially in the planning phase, the LPS illustrates the deadlines for necessary decisions and enables easy communication to the customer. This makes it easy and transparent to illustrate the impact of a late decision.

6 Week Lookahead - Last Planner System

6 Week Lookahead

Ausgehend vom Meilenstein-/Phasenplan bildet die 6-Wochenvorschau einen detaillierten, tagesscharfen Überblick der nächsten sechs Projektwochen. Dabei definieren die Gewerke selbst auf Tagesebene Tätigkeiten, Abhängigkeiten, verbindliche Ziele sowie benötigte Ressourcen und Maschinen. Durch ein einfaches, vorstrukturiertes & auf Post’its ® basierendes System, ist die Planerstellung und Anpasung sehr einfach. Schließlich entwickelten wir die digitale Lösung “Yolean”, um den Prozess weiter zu vereinfachen und auch ohne physische Meetings zu ermöglichen.

Week ahead - Last Planner System

Week ahead

The weekly lean meetings enable agile and efficient control of the construction processes. This allows you to coordinate planned activities and identify potential risks immediately. As a result of the collaborative approach of the Last Planner system, deviations are immediately detected without causing more serious problems. Consequently you minimize firefighting actions and save costs. In the course of the project, the duration of these meetings usually shortens enormously. Because the focus is solely on process planning. Then necessary technical details are clarified in a construction meeting. Consequently, this construction meeting is also considerably shortened, as the topics can be dealt with much more precipiting and efficient.

KPI - Last Planner System

Last week

Aus den Tätigkeiten und Störungen der vergangenen Woche schließen die Gewerke in der Lean Besprechung Rückschlüsse zur Optimierung der Planung der kommenden Woche. Dabei hilft das Erheben von Kennzahlen, um noch schneller und effizienter zu werden. Somit unterstützt das Last Planner System aktiv die kontinuierliche Verbesserung (Kaizen). Dies ist mit einer Lean Construction Software noch besser möglich, sodass automatisch und projektübergreifend Kennzahlen erhoben werden können. Dadurch lassen sich Prozesse über die Grenzen von Projektteams hinaus verbessern.

Lean Construction & Last Planner Kennzahlen

Test software!

Why Last Planner?

As early as 1988, the Last Planner System was explicitly mentioned in the Egan Report “Rethinking Construction.” Subsequently, several planners, construction managers and airport operator BAA advocated the use of the LPS in all their projects, because they …

  • complete projects more safely
  • create a more predictable construction processing plan
  • reduce the project runtime
  • keep a better grip on costs
  • reduce the stress of project management staff
  • improve the entire construction process
  • prepare projects reliably for just-in-time deliveries
  • and it works even when the traditional method of the Critical Path fails

A 2012 study of 26 individual case studies shows that the Last Planner System even exceeds these expectations and has other advantages.

  • Increased reliability of the working procedures (workflows)
  • Improved supply chain integration
  • Reduced project execution or production time
  • Improved communication between project participants
  • Fewer firefighting actions or daily problems
  • Better quality of working methods on construction sites
  • Improving management practices in construction projects
  • Knowledge expansion and learning from and with each other in the project team
  • Reduced stress on construction sites

The fact that the Last Planner system really works has been shown by the stadium construction for the London Olympics.

Lean Construction Software

Collaborate independently of locations and experience visual process planning on a new level.

Experience the software!
Download summary

Overview of all the advantages of the Last Planner System

Last Planner as an early warning system

Bad news provide good information. Therefore, the sooner you get the bad news, the better! If you detect problems at an early stage, it can also be reacted to at an early stage. Therefore, it is also easier to take corrective action before the problem affects subsequent trades and can no longer be fixed (or only with considerable effort). Finally, the Last Planner System quickly makes bad news apparent before they become a major problem.

Prevents expensive firefighting actions

Much of the construction management activity is “firefighting operations” — meaning that construction managers are trying to do things that have gone wrong and put them back on track. Picking up on this metaphor, you can say that the Last Planner system is an integrated fire protection system. With the help of collaborative phase scheduling, problems can be identified at an early stage, this helps the team to develop countermeasures. Preparation for execution identifies and eliminates limitations and problems before these affect planned production. Then collaborative production planning reduces potential problems even further. Continuous learning is the basis for improvement so as not to repeat mistakes and to cooperate more effectively on emerging problems. Because experiencing bad news early means project managers and last planners have time to weigh options for countermeasures to mitigate risks and their discernible impact, rather than going into “firefighting mode.”

Krankheitsbilder nach Stresslevel

Das Diagramm zeigt die Häufigkeit verschiedener Krankheitsbilder in Abhängigkeit vom Stresslevel. TK. Häufigkeit ausgewählter Krankheitsbilder in Abhängigkeit des persönlichen Stresslevels in Deutschland im Jahr 2016 (Häufigkeitsverteilung). [16.07.2018].

Minimiert Stress bei Bauleitern und Projektbeteiligten

Stress ist einer der größten Auslöser für Krankheiten und Fehler im Job Das Einbeziehen aller Köpfe, von der Projektleitung bis zur Führungsperson der Ausführung (Polier/Vorarbeiter), gibt jedem ein Gefühl für die Vision und Ausrichtung des Projekts. Zusätzlich bringt es alle dazu, über Risiken und wie diese gemeinsam gemanagt werden können, nachzudenken. Dadurch lässt sich der Stress für alle Projektbeteiligten auf ein Minimum reduzieren. Denn der kollaborative Ansatz ermöglicht es Störungen und Probleme frühzeitig zu erkennen. Deshalb treten wesentlich weniger Probleme im Projektablauf auf. Schließlich bedeuten weniger Probleme auch weniger Stress für alle Beteiligten.

More stable processes

A basic prerequisite for lean processes is their stabilization. Therefore, the Last Planner System is an optimal method in a project-based production, as it was specifically designed for the increasingly unpredictable and complex projects in the construction industry. Because it optimizes planning and helps unpredictable to predict and handle better. As projects become more predictable, it becomes easier to integrate the aspirable prefabrication of entire assembly into the entire system. As a result, this in turn reduces the required personnel on site and accelerates the construction process and, in particular, also increases the quality of production. Fewer personnel on site will have fewer opportunities for accidents and incidents, thus leading to safer construction sites.

Collaboration by Last Planner

When it comes to construction in particular, coordination with each other is particularly important. Because, whatever the plan says, activities are performed after individuals and teams have made mutual commitments on what to do by when. Therefore, the discussions to make commitments with the Last Planner system are made at the right time, at the right level and throughout the process. In doing so, the LPS creates trust between the trades and supports efficient cooperation. Furthermore, the visualization of dependencies and commitments ensures that it is possible to complete them on time even for demanding projects.

Last Planner shortens project duration

By reducing waiting times even planned buffers can be reduced. In addition, the cycle of the addition creates trust within and between the teams and supports the smooth flow of activities. As a result, the entire project duration can be increased by an average of approx.

Statistik Arbeitsunfälle nach Branchen

Last Planner verbessert die Arbeitssicherheit

In der Baubranche sind die Unfallzahlen weltweit dreimal so hoch wie in anderen Branchen. Das LPS hilft, diese Unfall- und Verletztenstatistik zu verbessern. Beispielsweise zeigt eine dänische Studie, dass Bauprojekte, die das LPS nutzen, 65% weniger Arbeitsunfälle und bis zu 70% weniger krankheitsbedingte Fehlzeiten aufweisen. Des Weiteren zeigt eine vergleichbare Studie aus Chile, dass sogar 75% weniger Arbeitsunfälle auftreten, im Vergleich zu Projekten im selben Unternehmen, die ohne das LPS umgesetzt werden.

Action instead of reaction

Traditional project management focuses primarily on identifying things that have been done wrong to respond to them. Accordingly, this can be described as reactive behavior, for example, if one finds a missed milestone in the schedule. On the other hand, the focus of the Last Planner system is on the individual activities. On the other hand, the focus of the Last Planner system is on the individual activities. This is because it ensures that the activities can be carried out as they were planned, so the control works proactively rather than reactively.

Reduce waiting times

Systematic process planning ensures that all necessary resources are available at the beginning of an activity. As a result, there are no waiting times for

  • Access
  • Planning information
  • Building materials or plants
  • The previous trades or planning team,

that cause the flow of work to stagnate.

Alle Projektgrößen

Mit dem Last Planner System haben Sie ein simples und effizientes Tool an der Hand, dass sich sowohl für kleine als auch für große Projekte sehr gut eignet. Wie oben bereits genannt kam es beim Bau des Olympiastadions in London zum Einsatz. Zudem auch beim Bau des Terminal 5 des London Heathrow Airport mit einem Projektvolumen von £400 Mio. Allerdings haben wir bereits in kleinen Projekten, wie dem Umbau eines Bauernhauses zu Ferienwohnungen, sehr positive Erfahrungen mit dem LPS gemacht. Jedoch empfiehlt sich in Großprojekten eine Softwareunterstützung, wie bspw. Yolean, zu nutzen, um das System allen einfach und von überall zugänglich zu machen.

Complete contractual independence

Originally, the Last Planner was developed for the execution phase of a three-stage design, tendering and construction process. By now the LPS was used in design and build as well as in construction management (CM) and in PPP and IPD projects.

Oriented by the value stream

Added value is often dependent on definition and approach. The Last Planner System helps focus on customer value. The benefits for the following trades also play an important role in this. Ideally, the value for each trade is interpreted as knowing exactly what they need to do to generate the value that the subsequent trade needs and thereby deliver high-quality work. In the same way, the high flexibility and responsiveness offered by the LPS helps to respond to changing customer requirements. Therefore this combination of focus on added value and flexibility helps projects to be implemented more cost-effectively and at the same time in a more high-quality manner with the Last Planner System.

Enables the management of conflicting goals

In projects, there are conflicting goals for the various stakeholders. This is because project participants strive to maximize profit or Minimize costs. However, managing these goals requires a high level of collaboration, communication and engagement that the LPS promotes.

Decisions are made in a decentralized and collaborative way

Construction projects are becoming more complex, faster and more uncertain. That is why decentralisation is important in order to remain able to make decisions. To do this, Last Planner provides the last planners, i.e. the pre-worker/polishing and the planning team, the authority, information and space they need to make joint decisions about the use of resources for project execution. At the same time, the LPS helps stakeholders develop their skills as decision makers.

Develops your employees

The Last Planner System enables foremen to plan their weekly activities and assess the performance of their teams on a daily basis, as well as to make an accurate prediction of the required workers per weekday. Consequently, this plan is based on facts and not on a wish list of the building management. Once the foremen have understood the Last Planner system and are safe in handling the documentation, the frequency of visits by the consulting & trainers on site can be reduced. Because the trades are able to deal with situations that arise, since their decisions are based on facts that are documented weekly.

Source: Mossman, Alan: „Last Planner 5 + 1 crucial & collaborative conversations for predictable design & construction delivery“. In: April 2013. [16.07.2018]