Last Planner

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 “Unless commitments are implemented, there are only promises and hopes, but no plans” Peter Drucker

LastPlanner © was developed at the end of nineties by Ballard and Howell, founders of the Lean Construction Institute.  You can view the PhD about this topic by Ballard in this link.

Its about planning project tasks collaboratively. Subcontractors and engineers must promise to deliver some quantities or tasks weekly. The best way to understand how it works is with a picture. Go to this link.

There are two options: with the help of software (primavera, project, etc.) or without. You choose your best option according to your project. This LinkedIn discussion is very interesting about this issue.

There is a weekly meeting to review the tasks done, and next you plan the week ahead. PPC (Percentage of Plan Completed) is the relation between quantities made and quantities planned. This ratio will improve according to the progress of the project. See the graphic below by Dr. Tariq Abdelhamid of Michigan University.

 

                                                                                           © Luis Alarcón, www.leanconstruction.org

A useful control tool is putting the reasons for non-compliance in a bar chart: poor coordination, no materials, change orders, low performance, mistakes, unclear information, execution method, etc. According to  Ken Gottschalk, the four main reasons for non-compliance are: poor coordination, engineering, change orders and weather.


Advantages of Last Planner:

1. It´s a driver towards improve communication and teamworking among subcontractors

2. Real performances

3. Involvement of the workers: planning is the result of the effort of everyone

4. Fulfills the lead time of the project

5. Creates engagement

6. It´s a driver towards kaizen attitude

7. Reduces variability

8. Supply Chain is decided by consensus

9. Every subcontractor has a responsibility in the presence of others

10. Agreements among subcontractors involve less work for foremen


Last Planner System is based on promises. Subcontractors should only ensure what is possible and they´ll make an effort to fulfill it. According to Formoso (2006), the success of LPS depends on how we manage the commitments.

It´s also useful in the design phase and can be used by architects and engineers. In  summary, it´s a tool to designate weekly goals to a team.

Nowadays, Last Planner System has spread around the world and there are many cases studies: Norway, Korea, Denmark, the USA, the UK, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Australia, Spain, etc. You can find the papers in the annual world meetings of the International Group of Lean Construction.

It´s interesting to consult this paper presented in Haifas (2010) about two methodologies for planning projects: Last Planner System and Critical Chain Project Management. There is also a comment about Flow-Line in the conclusion section.


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