Last Planner System

New business strategy in the construction industry

The Last Planner System

The Last Planner System is part of a new production management 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 compared to old business practices. As a result, LPS is a major contributor to this powerful, new business strategy. The new strategy connects people, systems, business processes and practices. This allows you to leverage the talents and insights of all stakeholders so that they generate the desired value from the customer’s point of view (when generating a reasonable return for all parties involved). In doing so, the LPS reduces waste and maximizes efficiency during all phases of the project, from planning to manufacturing to construction. Integrated projects are guided by highly effective cooperation between the Customer/General Planner and General Contractor. Starting with the first design and ending at the time of the project handover. Therefore, the framework conditions of teamwork are usually defined within a multi-party cooperation agreement.

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?

Why Last Planner?

As early as 1988, the LPS was explicitly mentioned as one of the few methods 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. They use it to:

  • Complete projects more securely
  • Create a more predictable construction processing plan
  • Reduce the duration of the project
  • Have 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
  • Because 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.

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.

Stress-level pathologies

The diagram shows the frequency of different pathologies depending on stress levels. Tk. Frequency of selected pathologies depending on the personal stress level in Germany in 2016 (frequency distribution). https://bit.ly/2NlP9NN [16.07.2018].

Minimizes stress among construction managers and project participants

Stress is one of the biggest triggers for disease and errors on the job. The inclusion of all heads, from project management to execution leader, gives everyone a sense of the vision and direction of the project. In addition, it makes everyone think about risks and how they can be managed together. As a result, the stress for all project participants can be reduced to a minimum. This is because the collaborative approach makes it possible to detect disturbances and problems at an early stage. As a result, there are far fewer problems in the course of the project. After all, fewer problems also mean less stress for everyone involved.

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/. Shares 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. 20%.

Statistics Occupational accidents by industry

Last Planner improves occupational safety

In the construction industry, the number of accidents worldwide is three times higher than in other industries. The LPS helps improve these accident and injury statistics. For example, a Danish study shows that construction projects using the LPS have 65% fewer accidents at work and up to 70% fewer sickness absenteeism. Furthermore, a comparable study from Chile shows that even 75% fewer accidents at work occur, compared to projects in the same company that are implemented without the LPS. https://www.dguv.de/de/zahlen-fakten/au-wu-geschehen/au-1000-vollarbeiter/index.jsp

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. 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.

All project sizes

With the Last Planner System, you have a simple and efficient tool at your fingertips that is very suitable for both small and large projects. As mentioned above, it was used in the construction of the Olympic Stadium in London. In addition, the construction of Terminal 5 of London Heathrow Airport with a project volume of £400 million. However, software support, such as:

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.

LPS-systematic & process-oriented to project success

How does Last Planner work?

Prototyping and project-based work have a great similarity. Because both are based on a process that cannot simply be dictated top-down. It is not possible and useful to use outdated methods such as Gantt charts for project management. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to collaboratively connect the following eight factors with each other.

  • 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.

process analysis

Overall process analysis - Last Planner System

The overall process analysis generates an overview of the value streams in the production process. As a result, the processes in each project are clearly defined and transparently visualized. This creates a clear picture of the dependencies between the trades. This is then used to gain a common understanding of the project with the participants and to achieve a collaborative attitude to the project. To this end, internal and external customer requirements are clearly defined and the processes can be optimized in this regard. The Last Planner System directly reveals possible risks and bottlenecks as well as opportunities and potential for improvement.

Milestone-& phaseplan - 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 will then collaboratively plan a pull (see also Pull Principle) designed to validate milestone planning from back to front. Especially in the planning phase, the dates for necessary decisions can thus be communicated clearly to the customer and the effects of a late decision can be illustrated.

6 Week Preview

6-week lookahead - Last Planner System

Based on the milestone/phase plan, the 6-week preview provides a detailed, day-by-day overview of the next six project weeks. The activities, dependencies, binding targets as well as required resources and machines at the day level are defined by the trades themselves. With a simple, pre-structured & Post ‘its ® based system, planning and attachment is very easy. Accordingly, the Yolean digital solution was developed to further simplify the process and make it possible even without physical meetings.

Weekly planning - Last Planner System

Week ahead

Weekly meetings enable agile and efficient control of 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.

Last week

KPIs - Last Planner System

From the activities and disruptions of the past week, the trades in the Lean meeting conclude conclusions to optimize the planning of the coming week. This helps to collect metrics to become even faster and more efficient. This is even better possible with Lean Construction software, so that metrics can be collected automatically and across projects.

Implement Last Planner in just 6 weeks

Implementation in 6 weeks

Implement Last Planner in just 6 weeks

Implementation in 6 weeks

Source: Mossman, Alan: „Last Planner 5 + 1 crucial & collaborative conversations for predictable design & construction delivery“. In: researchgate.net. April 2013. https://bit.ly/2Lghhoe [16.07.2018 ]