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Barriers to Implement Lean Construction Practices in the Saudi Study

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Added on  2019-10-09

Barriers to Implement Lean Construction Practices in the Saudi Study

   Added on 2019-10-09

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Barriers to implement lean construction practices in the Saudi Arabianconstruction industryAbstractThe Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has witnessed the huge scale of construction during the lastdecades. However, many projects experienced time delay, cost overrun and generatedmassive wastes. To address these challenges, lean construction has been introduced to theSaudi construction industry, however, is still at its infancy stage. This study aimed toinvestigate the current state of lean construction and specifically current barriers associatedwith the implementation of lean practices in the Saudi construction industry through a broadquestionnaire survey. Through extensive literature review 22 potential barriers were identifiedand analysed using statistical tools. Results show that “Influence of traditional managementon construction” is the top ranked barriers identified by questionnaire survey from Saudiconstruction firms. On the other hand, “Use of non-standard components” and “uncertainty insupply chains” are ranked at the bottom of the list of potential barriers in the Saudiconstruction industry. User end preferences and lack of training and tools are also importantbarriers to be eliminated for successful implementation of lean practices in the Saudiconstruction industry.Keywords: Lean construction, Barriers, Saudi construction industry,Implementation,Principal component analysis
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1.Introduction The poor performance of the construction sector is the result of inefficiency andineffective of traditional managerial approaches (Kashiwagi et al., 2009; Ssegawa-Kaggwa etal., 2013). As an innovative concept,lean construction has emerged based on ‘lean thinking’to minimize waste and enhance the value of the customer (Howel, 2001). The first Leanconcept was derived from the Toyota production system (TPS) and it entails the perception ofcontinuous development that scientifically evolves to attain small, incremental variations inprogressions to advance proficiency and quality which is used in the construction industrycurrently. Lean construction practices emphasis on increasing efficiency of work at everystage in a construction project (Banawi, 2013). Lean construction also minimizes the directcost of effective project delivery management and assists in making informed projectdecisions at all levels of the project. Additionally, lean construction practices ensure acontinuous learning environment and lesson learned are useful for future implementation ofthe overall construction process in a firm (Lehman & Reiser, 2000). As a result, there is anincreased awareness among construction industries about the benefits of using lean practicesas the modern way to enhance productivity and project performance (Abdel-Razek et al.,2007). The application of lean construction principles, techniques and methods have thepotential to address the needs of construction at the industry level.However, adopting new management approach is not an easy process because ofresistance from practitioners and traditional system maturity. Various studies (e.g. Johansen,2007; Jin, 2008; Alinaitwe, 2009; Abdullah, 2009; Sarhan, 2013; Husaain, 2014;) haveidentified a number of barriers involved for the implementation of lean construction in thisrespect. Some of the evident barriers are improper understanding and implementation of thisconcept. According to Abdullah (2009), union contracts might oppose changes on theimplementation of lean tools and would not permit the reduction of maintenance task byworkers.. In addition, the application of the lean tools could make employees counterattackthe changes to their present work setting. According to Alinaitwe (2009), the leanconstruction barriers entail a lack of; structural beliefs supporting collaboration, theindulgence of the customers’ wants, organization management skills, communication skills,incessant perfection, precise pre-planning and prefabrication.The construction industry of Saudi Arabia is facing problems in measuring andimproving its performance (Bannah, 2012). Common problems are not limited to time delays
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(Assaf, 2006), cost overruns (Harris, 2014), poor safety and quality issues (AMEInfor, 2014).To address these problems, lean construction has been introduced into the Saudi constructionindustry in 2008 (AlSehaimi, Tzortzopoulos & Koskela, 2009). Al-Sudairi (2007) reportedthat lean practices have significantly improved the project performance, especially at tradelevel by reducing waste involved in the production. Despite so, lean construction in SaudiArabia is still in its infancy. The implementation of lean construction concepts in complexprojects has not taken place yet.The organization problems, social change and deficiency ofskills and lean tools could lead to problems when engaging lean concepts. Nevertheless, noresearch has been performed to date to investigate the barriers involved in the implementationof lean construction in Saudi construction industry. +" $* 30 '* ::!0 ;;.%% ' .$ " %0 ' .' " 0 ' .&&0 &$ "%" 1$ ( &")$ " "$ "<*+" $* 30 '* ::!0 ;;.%% ' .$ " %0 ' .' " 0 ' .&&0 &$ "%" 1$ ( &")$ " "$ "<*Therefore, this paper aims to understand what hinders the implementation of leanconstruction practices in the Saudi construction industry. Using a broad questionnaire survey,different barriers and challenges will be identified. The findings of this research will helpvarious stakeholders better understand and overcome such obstacles, specifically those highlyvaluable. Eventually, the benefits of lean construction practices can be achieved effectivelyby the Saudi Arabian construction industry in the broad spectrum. 2.0 Literature Review-Barriers to lean construction implementationRecent years have seen a growing international academic interest in lean construction(Koskela, 1992; Alarc¢n, 1997; Howell and Ballard, 1998), mainly seeking to investigate theextent to which the Japanese model of lean production can be applied to the constructionindustry. The term 'lean’ production’ is commonly used to describe the Toyota manufacturingsystem as applied to the automotive sector (Womack et al., 1990). The concept of lean has itsfoundation in the deployment of reproduction activities by Fredrick Winslow Taylor(Taylor’s theory), and its best historical implementation was based on Henry’s Ford’s
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conveyor belt invention that led to mass production observed in the 19th century (Vieira&Caehadinha, 2011). In the UK, the ideas of `lean thinking’ have been strongly endorsed inthe influential ‘Egan Report’ (DETR, 1998). Flanagan et al. (1998) and Saad and Jones (1998) have advocated the application of leanthinking to construction. They asserted that the inclusion of lean thinking to the constructionbring appreciable changes in the way things are carried out on the ground. The application oflean thinking impacts the existing procedures and brings efficiency if followed properly. The barriers concerning culture and human attitudes, finance, and reliance on traditionalmethods are evident (Sarhan and Fox, 2013). Researchers all over the world are concernedwith investigating the different barriers and hurdles in the successful implementation of leanpractices in the construction industry. Sarhan and Fox (2013) did an investigation about lean construction practices in theUK and reported that some structural and cultural barriers are created hindrance in successfulimplementation of lean practices in the construction industry. Fragmentation andsubcontracting is a barrier due to which there is no proper incentive for every participant ofthe project, and they cannot learn effectively. Traditional procurements and contract methodsundermine the principles and needs of lean construction. There are cultural and human natureissues to adopt a new technique. There are management and commercial pressure, whichcreates a barrier to implementing new concepts effectively. Lack of funding to provide propertools equipment for the implementation of lean practices. Top management is usually focusedon generating profit and not concerned about providing funding and time to develop a newand efficient practice. Lack of proper awareness and knowledge is one of the main barriershighlighted in this research work. Hussain, Nama & Fatima (2014) did an investigation about barriers in implementinglean construction in the Indian construction industry. They identified and ranked differentbarriers and also provided some solutions to overcome these obstacles. The top-rankedbarriers identified by researchers include Lack of exposure to the need for Lean Construction,Uncertainty in the supply chain and Cultural and human nature issues. People usually don’twant to change and disturb their traditional methods employed in construction. However, in
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the era of construction boom lean construction should be practiced with proper tools and forthis proper awareness and knowledge is required. Jin (2008) identified different barriers in implementing lean construction in theMalaysian construction industry. They did an investigation to recognize barriers separately invarious stages of construction, During Construction Phase likely barriers include Qualityassessment focus on conformance and the Fragmentation of the supply chain. Barriers duringthe management phase of projects include Lack of customer and production focus, lack oftraining, fragmentation of profession, the absence of long-term planning and Ineffectivemanagement practices. Similarly, Barriers identified for implementing lean constructionduring design phase include Procurement method, inaccurate design among the profession(Civil & Structure, Mechanical & Electrical, and Architectural). These barriers wereevaluated by conducting questionnaire survey from different construction firms in Malaysia.Respondents include practitioner, researchers, and medium and large construction firms.Johansen & Walter (2007) outlined some barriers in progress of adaptation of leanconstruction practices in Germany. This research identified awareness about lean constructionis the main hurdle. People are not aware, and they are reluctant to adopt new techniques.Another important barrier is procurement methods and the management of constructionprojects. Owing to traditional contracting and certain planning methods large amounts ofwaste are still inherent in the German construction industry. The most difficult barrier toovercome appears to be the mental change process towards a production-system-view ofconstruction.Main contractors in the Singapore construction industry (Dulaimi & Tanamas, 2001)realize the benefits of lean construction, but have a reservation in full implementation about aunique feature of the industry. Furthermore, the resistance to change derives from a culturalperspective and applicable to other countries as well. In summary, the barriers as noted above entail: The Fragmentation andsubcontracting, Traditional procurements and contract methods, cultural and human natureissues, management and commercial pressure, Lack of funding, knowledge, exposure,customer and production focus, training and lastly inaccurate design among the profession.Various studies have identified some barriers involved for implementation of leanconstruction in this respect, and they include:
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Managementand leadership. Adopting new techniques and implementing itsuccessfully much relies on the commitment of top management as they are a policymaker forany firm. Since top management in any construction firm is much more concerned about theprofit of the company, they may not be aware of the current practices and trend inconstruction. Support and commitment from top management have been considered essentialfor lean implementation (Radnor, 2010; Suárez-Barraza and Ramis-Pujol, 2010), andspecifically necessary element in implementing Just in Time (JIT) and Total QualityManagement (TQM) in construction (Low and Teo, 2004; Low and Chan, 1997). Otherwise,some management policies may hinder in the successful implementation of proper leanpractices, which has been observed and discussed in Germany and Finland constructionindustry (Johansen & Walter, 2007; Koskela, 1997). Organizational culture. Organization culture is of great importance to people, andthey normally do not want to change it as people want the things as they use to be (Mann,2014). Culture is equally an outcome and enabler for environmentally friendly and profitablelean processes. It features the functionality of a model, that directs the personnel during theorganizational transformation to the beliefs of lean retrospection. Overtop is theaccomplishments achieved by employing lean most the objectives and outcomes of leanretrospection for the high end. The end results are linked to finest quality, very low cost,quickest lead time frame, great staff moral, safety operating concerns, top organizationoutputs. A lean culture has specific dimensions that define the behavior of the employees(Womack and Jones, 1996). People do not want change, and it is hard to convince someone toadopt a new practice and leave what they used to do for a very long time. To adopt leanpractices, workers are asked to follow new production systems, working relationships,expectations about productivity, quality. All of these can be scary and uncomfortable forworkers (Sim and Rogers, 2009; de Souza and Pidd, 2011). There are many stakeholders in acomplex organizational hierarchy of any big construction firm. Technical knowledge. Lean construction is a relatively new concept, and it needsproper understanding and sufficient knowledge for its implementation. It has been observedin many construction firms that they want to adopt lean construction practice, but not skilledenough and did not have enough training to adopt new tools in their businesses. Tosuccessfully implement lean construction in any construction firm, there should be a properunderstanding of the technical issues and all the steps involved. Special training and skills arerequired, for example, to run software for better implementation (Liker, 2004). Lack oftechnical knowledge is one of the greatest barriers identified by the Lean Enterprise Institute
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