Last Planner System

Efficient construction processes, transparency & collaborative working.

Critical path method

Project Management: Critical Path Method

The Last Planner System is a collaborative production management system for one-off, one-off jobs, such as designing and building a bridge. This allows project managers to increase productivity, as well as Significantly increase customer & user satisfaction. The Last Planner system connects people, systems & business processes. This allows project teams to leverage the experience and insights of everyone involved so that they can maximum customer value (while generating a reasonable return for all stakeholders). In doing so, the LPS reduces waste and maximizes efficiency during all project phases from the Project development through planning to construction. Starting with the first draft and ending with the project handover.

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Last Planner System

Project management: Last Planner System

The Last Planner System - Summary

The system was developed in the 1980s by Glenn Ballard and Greg Howell. They developed the system based on research to improve productivity in construction operations 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 allows all information, relationships between project participants & commitments to be developed and presented transparently and collaboratively.

Last Planner was first used as a short-cycle project planning system in civil engineering. Since then, it has enabled significant optimization of design and construction execution, reliability, productivity, speed of project execution, profit, and project worker well-being. Thus, the Last Planner system provides a method for collaborative project delivery and thus on-time project completion. This is because it identifies problems and difficulties at an early stage and speeds up the process of finding solutions before they impede the flow of work (construction process).

As such, it forms a link between logistics and execution trades, which is why more and more clients are making LPS a standard part of project execution. This is because the promotion of collaboration and communication creates conversations between foremen and site management at a level of detail that highlights problems before they become truly critical. Finally, activities on the jobsite can also be brought into a continuous flow, reducing bottle necks and wait times.

LPS - systematically & process-oriented to project success

Visual, structured & collaborative process planning for projects

Last Planner System: Process-driven project management

Prototyping and project-based work have a lot in common. Both are based on a process that cannot simply be dictated from above. Nor is it possible or sensible to use outdated methods such as Gantt charts for project management. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to connect the following eight factors collaboratively.

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

The Last Planner system helps to achieve this goal. In the following, we show how the system works in principle. Based on this basic system, we adapt the Last Planner System to your needs and projects.

Last Planner System Overall process analysis

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 clearly and comprehensibly. As a result, a clear picture of the interdependencies between the trades is created. Subsequently, the analysis is used to reach a common understanding of the project with the participants and to achieve a collaborative attitude towards the project. To this end, internal and external customer requirements are jointly defined in order to optimize the processes accordingly. Possible risks and bottlenecks as well as opportunities and improvement potentials are directly revealed by the Last Planner system.

Last Planner System Milestone & Phase Plan

Milestone/Phase Plan

A milestone/phase plan is derived from the overall process analysis, in which the weekly work packages are visualized. For this purpose, the relevant project milestones are first defined, such as submission of the building application, start of earthworks, envelope sealed, building services completed, acceptance milestones and commissioning. Subsequently, the project team 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 simple communication to the customer. This allows the effects of a delayed decision to be presented simply and transparently.

Last Planner System Six Week Preview

6-week preview

Based on the milestone/phase plan, the 6-week preview provides a detailed, daily overview of the next six project weeks. The trades themselves define activities, dependencies, binding goals as well as required resources and machines on a daily level. Through a simple, pre-structured & Post'its ® based system, the plan creation and adaptation is very easy. Finally we developed the digital solution "Yoleanto further simplify the process and also enable it without physical meetings.

Last Planner System Detailed Planning

Upcoming week

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 detected immediately without causing more serious problems. Consequently, you minimize firefighting actions save costs. In the course of the project, the duration of these meetings is usually reduced enormously. This is because the focus is exclusively on process planning. Subsequently, necessary technical details are clarified in a construction meeting. Consequently, this construction meeting is also shortened considerably, as the topics can be discussed much more precisely and efficiently.

Last Planner System Evaluation

Evaluation of the past week

In the lean meeting, the trades draw conclusions from the activities and disruptions of the previous week in order to optimize the planning for the coming week. The collection of key figures helps to become even faster and more efficient. The Last Planner system thus actively supports the continuous improvement (Kaizen). This is even better possible with Lean Construction software, so that key figures can be collected automatically and across projects. This allows processes to be improved beyond the boundaries of project teams.

Your project - Our solution

Why you should use the Last Planner System!

As early as 1988, the Last Planner System was one of the few methods explicitly mentioned in the Egan Report "Rethinking Construction". Subsequently, several planners, construction managers and the airport operating company BAA advocated the use of the LPS in all their projects, because it allowed them to ...

  • Complete projects more securely
  • establish a more predictable construction management plan
  • reduce the project duration
  • get a better grip on costs
  • reduce the stress of the project management staff
  • Improve the entire construction process
  • Projects reliably prepared for Just-In-Time deliveries
  • and it also works when the traditional critical path method fails

In a 2012 study of 26 individual case studies, it appears that the Last Planner System.
even exceeds these expectations and has further advantages.

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

That the Last Planner system really works has been proven by the Stadium construction for the Olympic Games in London shown.

All advantages of the Last Planner system at a glance

Identify problems at an early stage

Last Planner as an early warning system

Bad news provides good information. Therefore, the earlier you get the bad news, the better! If you identify problems early, they can be acted upon early. Therefore, it's also easier to take corrective action before the problem affects downstream trades and can't be fixed (or can only be fixed at considerable expense). Finally, the Last Planner system brings bad news to light quickly, before it becomes a major problem.

Reduce fire actions

Prevents expensive fire brigade actions

Much of construction management activity is "firefighting" - by this is meant that construction managers go out of their way to take care of things that have gone wrong and get them back on track. Taking this metaphor, it can be said that the Last Planner system is an integrated fire prevention system. Collaborative phase scheduling identifies problems early this helps the team develop countermeasures. Preparing for execution identifies and removes constraints and issues before they impact scheduled production. Then, collaborative production scheduling further reduces potential problems. In this process, continuous learning is the foundation for improvement, to avoid repeating mistakes and to collaborate more effectively as new problems arise. After all, learning bad news early means that project managers and final planners have time to weigh options for countermeasures to mitigate risks and their identifiable impacts, rather than going into "firefighting mode."

minimize stress

Minimizes stress for site managers and project participants

Relationship between stress and diseases

Stress is one of the biggest triggers for illness and mistakes on the job Involving all the minds, from project management to the execution leader (foreman), gives everyone a sense of the vision and direction of the project. Additionally, it gets everyone thinking about risks and how they can be managed together. This helps keep stress to a minimum for everyone involved in the project. This is because the collaborative approach makes it possible to identify disruptions and problems early on. Therefore, far fewer problems occur during the course of the project. After all, fewer problems also mean less stress for everyone involved.

Stabilization of process fluctuations

Minimizes stress for site managers and project participants

Stress is one of the biggest triggers for illness and mistakes on the job Involving all the minds, from project management to the execution leader (foreman), gives everyone a sense of the vision and direction of the project. Additionally, it gets everyone thinking about risks and how they can be managed together. This helps keep stress to a minimum for everyone involved in the project. This is because the collaborative approach makes it possible to identify disruptions and problems early on. Therefore, far fewer problems occur during the course of the project. After all, fewer problems also mean less stress for everyone involved.

Effective cooperation

Collaboration through Last Planner

Coordination among each other is particularly important in construction. Because, whatever the plan says, activities are carried out after people and teams have made mutual commitments to each other about what has to be done and by when. That's why the Last Planner System makes it possible to talk about commitments at the right time, at the right level and throughout the entire process. In doing so, the LPS builds trust between trades and supports efficient collaboration. Furthermore, the visualization of dependencies and commitments ensures that on-time completion is possible even for challenging projects.

Shorter project duration

Last Planner shortens project duration

By reducing waiting times, scheduled buffers can also be reduced. In addition, the commitment cycle creates trust within and between teams and supports the smooth flow of activities. As a result, the total project duration can be reduced by approx. 20% on average.

Improved occupational safety

Last Planner improves occupational safety

Statistics on accidents at workIn the construction industry, accident rates are three times higher than in other industries worldwide. The LPS helps to improve these accident and injury statistics. For example, a Danish study shows that construction projects using LPS have 65% fewer workplace accidents and up to 70% less sick leave. Furthermore, a comparable study from Chile shows that as many as 75% fewer occupational accidents occur compared to projects in the same company implemented without the LPS.

Proactive control

Action instead of reaction

Traditional project management focuses primarily on noticing things that have been done wrong in order to react to them. Accordingly, this can be described as reactive behavior, for example, when noticing a missed milestone in the schedule. In contrast, 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 control works proactively rather than reactively.

Reduced waiting times

Reduce waiting times

Systematic process planning ensures that all necessary resources are available at the start of an activity. This means that there are no waiting times for

  • Access
  • Planning information
  • Building materials or installations
  • the preceding trade or planning team,

that cause the flow of work to stagnate.

Applicable in large construction projects and single family houses

All project sizes

With the Last Planner System you have a simple and efficient tool at hand that is very well suited for both small and large projects. As already mentioned above, it was used for the construction of the Olympic Stadium in London. It was also used in the construction of Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport with a project volume of £400 million. However, we have already had very positive experiences with the LPS in small projects, such as the conversion of a farmhouse into holiday apartments. However, in large projects it is advisable to use software support, such as Yolean, in order to make the system easily accessible to everyone from everywhere.

Supports value creation

Oriented to the value stream

Often, added value depends on definition and approach. The Last Planner system supports the focus on customer added value. The benefit for the subsequent trade also plays an important role here. Because ideally the value for each trade is interpreted in such a way that they know exactly what they need to do to generate the value that the subsequent trade needs and thereby deliver a high-quality job. Likewise, the high flexibility and responsiveness provided by the LPS helps to respond to changing customer requirements. Consequently, this combination of focus on value and flexibility helps projects to be delivered more cost-effectively and at the same time with higher quality using the Last Planner system.

Managing conflicting goals

Enables the management of conflicting objectives

In projects, there are conflicting goals for the various participants. After all, project participants strive to maximize profit or minimize costs. However, managing these goals requires a high level of collaboration, communication and commitment, which the LPS promotes.

Decentralised decision making

Decisions are made decentrally and collaboratively

Construction projects are becoming increasingly complex, faster and more uncertain. That's why decentralization is important in order to still be able to make decisions. To this end, Last Planner provides the final planners, i.e. the foremen/polishers and the planning team, with the authority, information and space they need to make joint decisions on the use of resources for project execution. At the same time, LPS helps stakeholders develop their decision-making skills.

Promotes management skills

Develops your employees

The Last Planner system empowers foremen to plan their weekly activities and evaluate the performance of their teams on a daily basis, as well as make an accurate prediction of the workers required per week/day. Consequently, this plan is based on facts, not a wish list from site management. Once the foremen understand the Last Planner system and are confident in using the documentation, the frequency of site visits by the consultants & trainers can be reduced. This is because foremen are able to deal with situations as they arise, as their decisions are based on facts that are documented on a weekly basis.

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