Applying Value Stream Mapping (VSM) as a Lean Tool/Technique to Improve the Process of Concrete Works on a Construction Project in India: A Case Study

Abstracts

  • Purpose: The purpose of this research work is to examine the feasibility of “Applying Value Stream Mapping (VSM) as a Lean tool/technique to improve the process of concrete works on a Construction Project in India: A case study”.
  • Aims and Objectives: It aims at attaining threefold objectives including (1) Use of VSM as a lean technique for visualization of Current State Mapping and Future State Mapping on construction site, (2) Identification and elimination of waste in existing concrete process and (3) improving the complete concrete process through application of relevant lean management technique
  • Research Methodology: The research work makes use a framework for collecting data and creation of the case study. The proposed framework consists of five steps. These are (1) Process Map of existing activities, (2) Establishing Current State Map, (3) Waste Reduction and Elimination, (4) Use of Lean Management Technique to the Wastes and (5) Establishing a Future State Map. The data have been collected though interview method and the site engineer have been approached for this task. The site engineer of 7 Plumeria Drive Project, Pune is also responsible for proving process map of activities.
  • Data Analysis: Collected Data from interview method has been analyzed with the help of framework, which is characterized by a case study method of data analysis.
  • Findings: The research suggests that 20% of the existing activities on construction sites are waste and application of VSM can help in reducing or eliminating these wastes. The application of relevant lean management technique can improve the productivity by 28%.
  • Keywords: Lean Management Technique, Value Stream Mapping, Mivan Concrete Process, 7 Plumeria Drive Project, Pune, Current State Mapping, Future State Mapping, Waste, Standardization, Communication, ENVA, NVA

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Background to the Research

The success of lean management in automobile industry particularly for Toyota has accelerated the debate about its applicability in other industries. Among many other industries, its applicability in construction industry has long been debated. In the specific context of Indian construction industry; the significance and role of lean management increases manifold. This is because; the industry accounts for second largest activity of this nation, only after agriculture. There are a number of lean management tools and techniques that can be used for improvement of Indian construction industry (Sawhney, 2011). However, this paper focuses on implementation of Value Stream Mapping (VSM) in Indian construction industry.

VSM is arguably one of the most powerful mapping tools of lean philosophy and refers to a process of analysing and designing current and future state of a production process. This process is characterised by a series of activities, which are interrelated and interdependent. In a construction project, the application of Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is driven with the purpose of ensuring “material and information flow” in such a way that helps in eliminating non-value added activities and reduction of waste (Martin and Osterling, 2013). It implies that application of VSM allows a critical analysis of exiting process of a construction project and compares them with expected or standard process of the same industry. In this way, VSM identifies studies and analyses the difference between “what is” and “what should be”.

The mapping tool provides a simple map to see and understand flow of material and flow of information throughout the process. The entire process is observed as it occurs currently and they are further analysed and summarised with a purpose of envisioning a future state with much better performance (Locher, 2008). The application and success of VSM in Indian construction projects is a subject to a critical and deep analysis of current process, which is followed in this industry.

It is quite essential to understand the basis nature and problems of Indian construction projects, so that it can be identified, examined, and improved for a better productivity. A close study and analysis of construction industry in India tends to indicate that it lacks key performance indicators of a successful project, which can be identified in terms of cost, time and quality standards. Besides this, the industry is also known for following an ineffective approach of waste management (Locher, 2008).  The problem of waste management combined with inability of meet customers’ expectations in this industry requires a tool that can resolve these problems and improve the productivity.

A study conducted by Centre for Science and Environment, it was found that since 2005, the country has newly constructed 5.75 billion square meter of additional floor space by the end of 2013. It further suggests that a new construction generates around 40-60 kg of construction and demolition waste per square meter. Going by this rule, an average of 50 kg of waste per square meter turns into 287 million tons of waste by the end of 2013. It is worth pointing here that the data only includes waste generated from new construction and does not include renovation or demolition wastes. If the statistics from demolition is added to this waste, it will be equal to an average of 250-300 kg of waste per square meter (Centre for Science and Environment 2014). Besides this waste, the non-value addition activities account for a significant part of time and resources allocated to this industry. These activities may include but are not limited to waiting time, double handling, and searching for materials, etc.

The study and analysis of collected data related to waste in construction industry poses a number of questions, which need immediate attention. Among these questions, the most important or pertinent question can be identified as exploring the ways, which can help in controlling and minimizing the waste, reduction of non-valuable activities generated within and from this industry.

1.2 Problem Description

In the light of above issues and major problems of waste management in a construction project, it can be argued that since long Indian construction industry has suffered from a number of problems. The major problems can be identified and analysed in terms of time, budget and quality standards. It implies that construction projects have not been able to meet the criteria of a successful project, which is characterised by time, cost and quality standards. In a study conducted by Desai and Shelat (2014), it has been argued that waste can arise at any state of construction process raging from inception to completion. In the absence of an effective planning and management process, resources, energy and waste are likely to increase. The authors further posit that construction projects are known for their unique nature that is defined by on-site projects (Desai and Shelat, 2014).

In a construction project, it is difficult to define a cemented list of production steps that are adding value, as different activities may be considered differently by participants. According to the authors, unlike other projects, the key to improve on site construction is the management and flow of resources and information at any given point of time. In a different study Banawi and Bilec (2014) indicate that improving the efficiency and management of a construction project is not only likely to reduce the waste, but is also likely to result into resources, energy and cost. An analysis of existing literature on this topic tends to suggest that previous studies have been focused on exploring the techniques of waste reduction, increasing productivity and minimizing environmental impact. However, there seems to be a lack of studies that can combine all these three different but interrelated aspects of a construction industry (Banawi and Bilec, 2014).

In order to combine these aspects of a construction project, it is important to identify and classify value adding and non-value adding activities during different processes. While exploring the tools and techniques, which enables waste management and process improvement, the implementation of Value Stream Mapping can be termed as a potent solution. It is a process, which allows analysis and improvement though elimination of non-value added activities. It is a lean management system that imitates what actually happens rather than what is supposed to happen. The difference between actual and expected sequence of activities can be classified into “the current state mapping” and “the future state mapping” (Desai and Shelat, 2014). The current state mapping focuses on creating a clear picture of existing operational activities on construction sites. On the other hand, the future state mapping aims at eliminating non-value added activities and reducing waste into existing process. 

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The major purpose of this study can be identified as improving the process of concrete work of a construction project through application of Value Stream Mapping (VSM). The use of VSM in this study is driven with the purpose of eliminating non-value added activities in construction projects and reduction of waste during different phases of the construction. These activities and wastes can be identified as overproduction, faulty products, unnecessary waiting, excess inventory and movement or transportation. In order to attain this purpose, a research question has been formulated and has been entitled as “Applying Value Stream Mapping (VSM) as a Lean tool/technique to improve the process of concrete works on a Construction Project in India: A case study”.

The study is driven with the purpose of achieving following objectives:

  • To identify and classify value adding and non-value adding activities in a construction project of India (7 Plumeria Drive, Pune)
  • To examine the significance of Mivan concrete process as a part of VSM technique in reduction of waste and elimination of non-value added activities
  • To explore the major barriers of applying VSM technique on MIVAN concrete process
  • To analyse the significance and impact of Value Stream Mapping (VSM) application on construction projects in term of process improvement and waste management
  • To explore the advantages of using Value Stream Mapping (VSM) for better productivity and efficiency in an Indian construction project

1.4 Limitations

The study is limited to the application of Value Stream Mapping (VSM) in construction industry and does not cover the entire lean management system. The research is concerned about reduction in lead time through elimination of non-value adding activities and waste management. It has been carried out with an intensive focus on India construction industry and interpretation of this piece of work with regard to construction projects of other nation may not be equally viable. This research is based on primary and secondary sources, which are reliable and authentic in nature. In order to validate their reliability and authenticity sources have been cited that can be examined and verified as and when required. Use of this wok for any other industry than the intended one may not bring the same findings.  It implies that the findings of this research work is largely applicable for constructions projects of India and may not hold equally valuable importance for construction projects in other country and industry.

            VSM provides a static model in terms of current of future production stages, which are essential part of planning process. However, it does not capture dynamic behaviour of production process. Therefore, it is not feasible to observe the variations in inventory level with regard to time and different scenarios. The research work is only concerned with flow of material and associated information as a part of Value Stream Mapping, so that an improved version of current state process can be created and applied.

1.5 Outline of the Research

The complete research has been divided into six chapters; each of these six chapters deals with a different but interrelated aspect of the research question. The outline covers brief information regarding six chapters of this research work:

Chapter 1: Introduction

 This chapter tends to cover the purpose of current research work along with its major aims and objective. It is primarily focused on answering few crucial questions such as, why a research question in important, what is the scope of the study and how it is going to add value for existing literature.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

This chapter deals with existing literature and tends to create a theoretical framework upon which the complete research work would be based. The purpose of this chapter is to understand and review a research question in the light of existing literature so that current position of academician and scholars can be determined. It helps in exploring the areas, which have very succinct or limited information and need further examination.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

 The chapter of research is driven with the purpose of collection data (primary or secondary) in order to study research question. In this chapter, process of data collection, their sources, number of participants are discussed in such way that provides adequate and appropriate information about reliability and validity of the data. The research collects primary data from interview method of a site engineer, who is also responsible for providing a data sheet related to particular activity sheet and on-site observations.

Chapter 4: Data Analysis

In this chapter, data will be analysed with the help of quantitative method, which is based on mathematical operations. This chapter aims at converting raw data into meaningful information, so that research question can be answered with the help of explored information.

Chapter 5: Interpretation and Findings

This chapter is followed by data analysis and its major focus is interpreting the information in the line of research question and purpose of the work. It is important to explore the findings of the work in the light of research questions, so that purpose of the research can be fulfilled.

Chapter 6: Conclusion and Recommendations

This chapter covers overall outcome of the research work and concludes the findings with regards to each of the research objective. It provides clear and concise information about research outcomes and how they are applicable to the research question. The purpose of recommendations section in this chapter is to come up with ideas, which are likely to help in decreasing the level of problem and creating more effective measure to deal with the current problem.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

The section of literature review aims at creating a theoretical framework in order to undertake the present research work. It aims at capturing the key arguments, opinions, and view of authors on the topic of Value Steam Mapping in Indian construction projects. The section encourages a critical analysis while reviewing the concepts of Lean Management, Value Steam Mapping (VSM) and their implications for a better productivity and waste management of construction projects.

2.2 An Overview of Lean Management Philosophy and Value Stream Mapping

The evolution and development of lean management philosophy is tightly linked to Toyota Motor Company (TMC), and the term “lean” was perhaps coined in 1990 following the exploration of Toyota model. It is a multi-faceted concept with a common objective of eliminating non-value added activities and reduction of waste (Akdeniz, 2016). The management philosophy aims at maximising value of the product though improvement of the overall process and waste management. It identifies and defines value of product/service form customers’ perspectives and strives for perfection through continuous improvement (Agrahari, Dangle, and Chandratre, 2015) in their paper have stated that basically five areas, which are taken into consideration for categorising all the tools and practices, and these can be discussed as following:

Value: It is important to define value from customers’ point of view and should have utility to be paid by customers. There are several features that may be attractive from sellers’ point of view, but may not be considered as a valuable feature by customers. Such features add cost to the process or the organisation (Agrahari, Dangle, and Chandratre, 2015).

Value Stream:  The same view has been supported by David (2014), who refers value stream as process of reviewing the entire delivery system, as a continuous process that adds value to the final product. It should be noted here that each activity of a process adds cost to the product but may not create equally important value for the customers (David, 2014). Therefore, value stream aims at eliminating such activities and improving the overall productivity of an organisation.

Flow: This area of a product development is concerned with constantly moving a product or service through the value stream towards meeting final customer demands.

Pull: It is important for a firm to ensure that product is being pulled by the customers through value stream rather than being pushed to them (David, 2014). This would help in reducing the issues of excess inventory or overproduction.

Perfection: This is one of the most important areas of a lean management system and refers to a continuous process of eliminating waste and non-value adding activities.

The same has been studied by Bjornfot (2007) and the author has presented the lean thinking in construction industry as following:

Lean Principle Conceptualisation in Construction
1. Value Identifying and defining customers Defining value from customers’ perspectives Defining what does value mean to the delivery team Determining how value is specified by products
2. Value Stream Identifying and defining required resources for production Defining all activities, which are required for production Standardising current practices Defining and locating key components and suppliers
3. Flow Identifying and defining non-value adding activities, refers at waste Reducing or eliminating the sources of waste when they are observed Identifying and benchmarking KPI (Key Performance Indicator) Measuring performance
4. Pull Making and keeping production system flexible to current and future customer requirements Exercising a conscious effort at shortening lead time and cycle times 
5. Perfection Making the entire production system transparent for all involved stakeholders Capturing and implementing experience from completed construction projects Striving or making conscious efforts at improving value for customers Ensuring continuous improvement in execution of work

(Source: Bjornfot. 2007)

In the context of above discussed areas of lean philosophy, it is important to understand the crucial significance of value stream mapping, which is the area of study for this research work. According to Pathak and Deshpande (2014) Value Stream Mapping (VSM) can be defined as an iterative method for mapping and analysing value stream process. It provides a blue print for implementation of lean manufacturing concepts by illustration of flow. It captures the flow of material and information and helps in identifying how it should be carried out rather than how it is being carried out. VSM consists of basically two elements; “The Current State Mapping” and “The Future State Mapping”.

Desai and Shelat (2014) describe the differences and purposes of these two elements and observers that the goal of Current State Mapping is create a clear picture of existing process and identify the areas of non-value adding activities and waste. It also reveals value adding activities, which need to be carried out as a part of process. On the other hand, “The Future State Mapping” aims at identifying the major causes of waste and tends to eliminate them to increase overall productivity and flow of process (Desai and Shelat, 2014).

2.3 An Overview of Indian Construction Industry 

Cement is one of the Eight Core Industries of India and these core industries accounts for nearly 38% of the weight of items, which have been included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). This shows the significance of cement that is one of the essentials elements of construction industry (India in Business, 2016). A study of data related to construction industry indicates that it has a great impact on overall economic growth of the country, as it is a significant contributor of GDP. At national level, the contribution of construction industry has increased to 2285.27 IND Billion in the first quarter of 2016 from 2213.23 IND Billion in last quarter of 2015 (Trading Economics, 2016).

In an article published by a leading India newspaper, it was reported that in addition to the contribution towards GDP, the industry also employs 33 million people of India. It shows that any improvement in this sector is likely to improve other associated industries such as cement, steel, technology, and skill-enhancement (Jain, 2016). It should be noted here that Indian government has announced a flagship program for creating a 100 Smart Cities. In addition, the industry is likely to expand rapidly in the line of growing demand for residential, infrastructure and energy projects. The government has announced a number of other projects, which require direct interference of construction industry in order to achieve its mission or purposes. The names of these projects include Make in India, Housing for All, and Atal Mission for Urban Rejuvenation and Transformation (AMRUT). The demand in this industry is likely to increase manifold in the light of rise in disposable income and population growth (Jain, 2016).

It is the second largest economic activity in India only after agriculture and consumes vast quantities of resources and energy. Despite its remarkable contribution to the GDP and ability to produce millions of jobs, the industry suffers from a huge problem of ineffective waste management.

2.4 Complexities of Construction Projects

The construction industry differs to production in complexity, which is the result of a number of participants at different levels and phases. Vilasini and Gamage (2015) undertake a critical study to identify the actors that are likely to affect the overall project. The list of these actors include as follows:

Users Designers Owner Management and Control Company
Developer General Contractor Real Estate Companies Sub-Contractors
Financial Agents Material Suppliers City Agencies Equipment Suppliers

Source (Vilasini and Gamage, 2015)

It is evident from above list that the number of participants and their engagement to the construction industry inherently makes the entire process complex and less standardised to deal. According to Gustafsson and Marzec (2007), the industry should be classified as a complex and dynamic, which requires a lean management approach to eliminate the waste and improve the overall productivity of the industry. In order to implement lean philosophy to the construction industry, Koskela (1992) proposed a lean construction approach. According to him, construction should move beyond lean thinking and it can be done through development of lean construction concept. Koskela (1992) presented a summary of eleven principles, which formed a base of lean construction concept. These principles can be observed as following:

1. Reducing the share and efforts of non-value adding activities
2. Increasing output value through systematic identification and consideration of customer requirements
3. Reducing variability
4. Efforts for reducing cycle times
5. Simplifying the process through minimizing the steps and eliminating overlapping 
6. Increasing output flexibility
7. Increasing transparency of the entire production process
8. Shifting focus on complete project rather than on individual process
9. Fostering continuous improvement into the process
10. Balancing flow and conversion improvement 
11. Benchmarking the process

With the help of above principles Emmitt et al. (2005: pp. 59-63) proposed a building process model, which consists of four main phases and three main formal activities. These four phases include the elements of customer needs, concept, construction, and consume during delivery of value. Whereas, three formal activities are made of             contact, contract and control. The same can be depicted with the help of following diagram:

Figure: Value Based Building Process Model

Source https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:205439/FULLTEXT01.pdf

2.5 Lean Management Technique:

Lean management is the continuous approach made by the organization in a systematic manner to accomplish small and incremental changes that helps in improving the quality and efficiency of the processes (Colovic, 2011).

5S Method of Lean Management:

            The 5S method is used by organisations in order to increase productivity of the work, improve the transparency of the manufacturing, improve cleanliness at the workplace and remove the waste forms (Majernik, Daneshjo and Bosak, 2015). This 5S technique originated at Toyota in Japan in the business environment to help in achieving cleaner, better, and organized workplace along with increased productivity of the organisation. In the 5S methodology each S refers to five different Japanese words such as Sieri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke. The 5S method helps in eliminating wastes such as motion waste, defects, inventory, waiting, unused creativity, overproduction, transportation and over-processing (Blecker, Kersten and Ringle, 2012). In addition to this, 5S lean management technique also helps in increasing the involvement of the workforce, their morale, health and safety along with increasing the teamwork. The 5S methods are described below:

Seiri:

Seiri also known as sort is the first step that is used for eliminating all the waste from the workplace and results in leaner and tidier workplace. In this step, the lean manager sort out or separate all the items that are required and that are not required in the work center. In this process, when a lean manager is not sure about the item or material and thinks that someone else could make use of it, a red tag is placed on that item with its description (Agrahari, Dangle and Chandratre, 2015). This red tag item or material is then placed in a quarantine area for some time so that any other person could make use of it. If the item is not used by any of the workplace member then it is discarded.

Seiton:

Seiton which means set in order is another step where the equipments are arranged in a specific location so that it can be retrieved whenever necessary in a quick and easy manner without wastage of time.

Seiso:

Seiso or shine is the third method that represents the workplace cleanliness. After the unnecessary items and materials are discarded and thrown away and the sorting is done the sanitization of the area is required. The cleanliness of the workplace also affects the working condition and psychology of the worker thereby increasing the work efficiency (Malik, 2014). Moreover, if the machines are kept clean it will work for longer time and will not break down frequently.

Seiketsu:

Seiketsu or standardise is the fourth stage where the improvements of the previous stages are maintained (Akdeniz, 2016). In this stage, the authorised person or the lean manager has to ensure that the company is using the previous three improvement stages and have common standards and ways of working.

Shitsuke:

Shitsuke or sustain is the fifth and the last stage which ensures that the organisation is continuously improving and sustaining the results achieved with sort, set, shine and standardise (Akdeniz, 2016). The first four S’s can be sustained by the organisation by developing a procedure in order to audit the practices in a regular manner, maintain the standard and bring improvement every day.

2.6 Barriers of Applying Value Stream Mapping (VSM) in Indian Construction Projects

Barriers of Lean Principle  

            Various industries all over the world are now open to adopt the Lean Principle, but there are still some vital barriers to the adoption of concept. The principle needs to be followed by organisations of every size in order to maximize its benefits and reduce wastage of resources. According to Koskela and Howell, organizations can derive maximum value by implementing lean management, which enables them to eliminate the wastage of time, resources and efforts.

            However an empirical study conducted by Hussain, Nama, and Fatima (2016) have shed light on a few major barriers of  Lean Principle, which add to the ambiguity of its success rate. It is learned from this study that there is lack of exposure and related knowledge to the requirement of adopting lean principle in most of the industries. It is found that organizations are unaware of the benefits they can achieve by using the lean principle. In addition to this, due to the uncertainty of supply chain, firms fail to focus on waste minimization (Hussain, Nama, and Fatima, 2016). In opinion of experts, the lean principle concentrates on just in time supply, where there is no over or under ordering of material, resulting in reduced waste of inventory. 

            Moreover, the already set traditional methods of working and cultural mindset of people do not allow the industry to take up new style of operations. There are times that people do not want to learn new things and come out of their comfort zones, resulting in resistance to change. It is observed that people do not want to disturb the ongoing processes as they do not want to put in more efforts. Sihag, Kumar, and Khod, (2014) also reveals that lack of commitment from the top management and non participative style of management is one of the vital obstacles to lean principle. They treat workers as a unit which is responsible for all the operations and consider themselves as the decision makers (Sihag, Kumar, and Khod, 2014). The top managers must coordinate and form alliance with their workforce so that work can be done more effectively.

            The other barriers identified through the research are fragmentation and subcontracting, lack of client and superior involvement, lack of proper training, difficulties in understanding the concept of lean principle and so on. The researchers also stress upon the necessity to overcome these barriers so that best possible outcomes can be achieved from application of lean principle.

2.7 7 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing

Waste refers to something that does not add value to the product and must be eliminated to achieve best possible outcome. Vendan and Sakthidhasan (2010) have emphasized on the elimination of waste, which will add on the profit margins of manufacturers. They also believe that the perfect time, quality and profit can be achieved only by removal of seven specific wastes from the processes, which are waste of transport, inventory, motion, waiting, over production, over processing and defects.

Waste of transport: Every business bears heavy transportation cost, which is the movement of goods from one place to another. Researchers consider it a waste as it does not add value to the product. The organisations are required to manage the waste of transport by developing an efficient team to operate this lengthy and complex activity and use effective machinery to obtain higher results (Vendan and Sakthidhasan, 2010).

Waste of inventory: The cost of inventory is a significant cost that needs to be handled carefully in order to avoid losses. Excess of inventory needs space for storage, careful packaging and transportation that adds to unnecessary cost to the organisation (Khalil and Mohammed, 2013). Hence, according to lean principle, supply chains must be strong and faithful, which can deliver just in time inventory as per requirement. 

Waste of motion: The waste of motion is the excessive and needless movement of machinery and workforce that creates stress and take time (Khalil and Mohammed, 2013). By eliminating waste of motion, employees can achieve higher energy levels and machinery can operate more efficiently.

Waste of waiting: Waiting time of decision making, approvals, answers and much more interrupt the flow of operations in organisations. To reduce the wastage of time, organisations need to maintain a perfect sync and coordinate the processes of various departments, so that results can be achieved on time.

Wastage of over production: In views of experts, over production is a serious problem for manufacturing companies as they unnecessary waste their time, resources and energy in producing more than required (Khalil and Mohammed, 2013). The condition arises due to over assessment, uncertain supply chains, oversize batches and various other reasons. The lean principle focuses on just in time approach to avoid wastage of every factor involved in production.

Waste of over processing: Over processing is also a huge waste that must be avoided in order to achieve benefits of lean principle (Khalil and Mohammed, 2013). When an organisation uses inappropriate techniques, oversize equipments, tight processes and redundant efforts, the problem of over processing arises. Experts emphasize on employing appropriate processes and machinery to avoid unnecessary expenses on production operations.

Waste of defects: The organisations must make arrangements to reduce the possibility of defects, and detect them on time. The manufacturing errors result in the cost of replacement, rework, and higher damages.

2.8 Evaluation of Wastes from View Point of Construction Project

            After an empirical study on the seven wastes relating to the lean principle, the researchers focus on evaluating the validity of the study in reference to the construction industry. In this regard, Ponnada and Kameswari (2015) have undertaken a specific research to identify the construction wastes. In this study four specific characteristics of construction waste have been identified, which will assist in understanding the construction industry and the waste associated to its processes.

Specific customer:                                               

            In views of researchers, the concept of over production cannot be justified in construction as the production takes place as per orders in contrast to mass production units. The construction projects start after the order and requirements are received from the client and get completed on or after the due date (Ponnada and Kameswari, 2015). Hence, there cannot be overproduction in this industry, and the theory of waste is not valid here.

Design stage:

In a construction project, designs are significant part of production or process. It is observed that to achieve the desired design, a certain waste is ignored. The stage of designing does not take into consideration any of the seven wastes.

Site production:

            The basic differences between the manufacturing industry and the construction industry bound to redefine the theory of seven waste of lean principle. In the construction unit, the transportation of resources to the site of production takes place, but after that, the workers and machinery moves around the product, and not the product moves anywhere (Ponnada and Kameswari, 2015). But in the manufacturing unit, the transportation has three levels, where after the similar first stage; other two stages are of internal transportation and delivering the finished products to customers also take place. Looking to this factor, researchers believe that waste of transport must have an altered definition in the construction industry.

Temporary organisations:

In such projects, there are higher possibilities of lack of planning and communication between the unknown parties, resulting in difficulty to understand the requirements. In the construction industry, this factor emphasize to efficiently deal with the causes of waste rather than the waste.

The study reveals that the seven wastes of lean principle cannot be directly applied in a construction project, and needs an alteration to achieve higher value. All the discussed factors are the intricate issues of construction process, where lean principle can be applied in a customized manner (Ponnada and Kameswari, 2015).

In order to reduce the wastes in construction projects, a number of frameworks are being used in India, one of such is Mivan concrete process. It was developed in late 1990s by a Malaysian construction company, named as Mivan Company Limited. 

2.9 Mivan Framework and its Implementation for Concrete Work

            Patil, Jadhav, and Shingate (2015) have studied the role and significance of Mivan concrete process in construction projects and have highlighted its advantages over conventional technology. In this system, cast-in-suit concrete wall and floor slabs are casted monolithically in one continuous pour. The authors suggest that the Mivan concrete process should be able to take a live load the impact of about 370kg/m² while construction (Patil, Jadhav, and Shingate, 2015). It helps in reducing time and cost, and also ensures quality and strength of buildings.

General Specification of Mivan Framework:

            Kadam et al (2016) in their study have performed a cost comparison for Mivan Framework and have highlighted its most common features. The most basic element of Miavan Framework can be identified as panel, which is made of an extruded aluminium rail section and is welded to an aluminium sheet. It is produced in the form of a lightweight panel with an excellent stiffness to weight ratio and allows minimal deflection under concrete loading. It is worth pointing here that the panel has to be lightweight and strong in such a way that allows easy handing and concrete loading at the same time. For this purpose, the aluminium alloy is produced with a 4 mm thick skin plate and 6 mm ribbing to stiffen the panels (Kadam et al, 2016).

Earlier the panels were mostly manufactured in European and South East Asian countries but recently they are being produced in India as well by a many players such as COSMOS Construction Machineries And Equipments Pvt. Ltd. These are light weighted and the heaviest component is approximately of 25 kg that can be easily lifted by workers (Kadam et al, 2016). In this way it does not only allow easy handing of panels from one construction sites to another but also eliminate the need of heavy weight lifting equipment at the construction sites.

It is important to understand the technique used for applying Mivan concrete process, which is guided by a series of activities, as discussed following:

1. Wall setting through reinforcing steel:

The wall reinforcing steel is used for giving a structure to the building and it also supports the concrete by the time the wall gets half of the required strength. The steel mesh is surrounded by a casted aluminium frame, which is factory made and directly erected on the construction sites (Goayl, 2015). The process can be better understood with the help of below figure:

Figure 1: Setting up the wall reinforcing steel

(Source: Goyal, 2015)

Placement of Aluminium Framework:

In the Mivan concrete process, the aluminium frameworks are placed along the wall reinforcing steel. These aluminium alloy slabs are prefabricated in room sized walls and floor slabs are erected. In addition to walls and floors, spaces for windows, doors, ducts and other features such as facade panel and staircase are also integrate in this structure. The entire structure is joint together with the help of pin and wedge system, and they are accurately made and are easy to handle Goayl, 2015). The structure can be dismantled quickly after concrete structure is made. A visual impression of this process can be observed as following:

Figure 1: Placement of Aluminium Framework

(Goyal, 2015)

Pouring Concrete:

After placement of aluminium framework as shown in figure 2, concrete is poured. The concrete takes shape of the casted structure and aluminium framework is removed after cemented structure is ready. It should be noted here that aluminium alloy can be used for more than 200 times, and helps in reducing overall waste. An image of concrete pouring and subsequent cemented structure can be displayed as below:

Figure 3: Concrete Pouring

(Goyal, 2015)

2.10 Advantages and Limitations of Mivan Concrete Process:

One the most remarkable advantages of using Mivan technology can be identified in terms of pace of construction. It has been observed and noticed by many of construction professionals and developers that use of Mivan helps in reducing construction time by almost a half in comparison to other conventional method (Kadam et al, 2016). A comparison of its advantages and limitations can be highlighted as below:

Advantages of Mivan Technology Limitations of Mivan Technology
Reduced Construction Time Visible finishing lines
Seismic Resistant Needs uniform and futuristic planning
Durable and smooth finishing Limited scope of modification and alteration
Limited or negligible labour intensive work  
Reduced requirement of skilled labours  
Time and Cost effective           
Reduction in level of wastages  

2.11 An Overview of Lean Technique in Construction Benefits and its Realised Benefits for other Countries

In a study undertaken by IMF, advantages of using lean technique in construction industry has been studied and presented. It is evident from this study that realised benefits of lean technique in construction industry vary across the globe and lies between 25% and 31%. The below table indicates that application of appropriate lean management technique has helped the countries in reducing the construction time and reduced or eliminate the wastes In order to explore the advantages following table has been presented:

Country Name                       Duration Reduction in % Used lean management technique
Brazil                                     25% Last Planner system
United States of America (USa) 16% Visualisation management, Last planner system, and 5s
Nigeria 31% Huddle meetings and visualisation system, last planner system
United Kingdom     37% JIT, collaborative planning, visual management, 5s, waste elimination technique, and prefabricated material
Sweden 79% Visual management, pull approach, reduced time batch

                                                             (IMB, nd)

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

3.1 Introduction

Research methodology is considered to be an integral part of a research study as it paves the way to arrange and organise further proceedings of the selected research question. It is important to ensure that research methodology acts as a guiding map and platform that enables the researcher to collect relevant facts and information about the research topic. The role of research methodology section is to provide adequate information about selected approach, methods, design, sources of data collection, and ethical consideration. It helps in collection of various types of relevant data and subsequent information that helps in arriving at meaningful conclusions and results (Bergh and Ketchen, 2009). The framework of research methodology needs to be discussed and enunciated properly in order to increase the reliability and validity of the collected data.

It has already been discussed in the chapter of literature review that lean concept has been successfully applied in many of different industries with a varying degree of success. However, its implementation in construction industry is quite different as a contractor does not have control on all the activities of supply chain management and interferences of customers are a crucial aspect of this industry. Besides this, for a construction project there seems to be a lack of guidelines that allows application of lean concept. The purpose of this chapter is to introduce a framework for VSM application as a part of lean concept and this framework has been applied to a Case Study.

The primary purpose of applying VSM to a Case Study is to see the potential improvement that can be achieved for concrete process of Mivan. It allows showing impact of using Mivan on concrete process and its subsequent impact on VSM to understand the real case study of a construction site in Pune. The framework would also identify and highlight actual causes of delay and disruption and how they can be addressed through proper application of lean management techniques.

3.2 Framework for Proposed Lean Construction Management

A framework has been developed to show the impact of applying VSM on concrete process of the selected project, especially in terms of project duration. The framework makes use of VSM lean principle for providing a proactive guideline to improve the performance of the project rather than being reactive (Bryman and Bell, 2007). The parameter of performance can be expressed in terms of time, cost, and quality. 

Framework Foundation

            The framework has been created after an extensive research in several directions and is based on following sources of data:

  1. Literary Survey:  It is evident form literary survey that implementation of lean concept has been quite successful in many of industries including manufacturing and service (Creswell, 2013). It allows identification and elimination of waste to improve the overall productivity and result.
  2. Interview: This research adopts interview method of primary data collection. It has been collected by a site engineer, who has vast experience to work with Mivan concrete process as a part of VSM technique. The site engineer is currently in charge of a construction project, named as 7 Plumeria Drive, which is a project of Bhandari Associates and Namrata Group. It is an on-going residential construction project, which is located in Ravet BRTS Road, Tathawade, Pune.

On the basis of primary and secondary sources of data collection, a proposed guide for lean management approach has been established. The framework is generic in nature and can be applied to any type of construction project. It consists of five steps that have been discussed as visually represented as following:

Figure: Framework for Proposed Lean Construction Management

1. Process Map for the Activities
2. Establishing the Current State Map
4. Selection of Lean tools/techniques
3. Waste Reduction/Elimination 3.1 Waste Identification (VA, NVA, ENVA) 3.2 Waste Analysis 3.2 Fishbone Analysis  
5. Establishing Future State Map

3.3 Steps for Framework Creation

Process Map for the Activities

The first step is development of a process map, which consists of all the activities in construction project. These activities have been placed in their sequence in order to achieve the project deliverables (Crowther, and Lancaster, 2008). In the present study, the focus in on concrete process, this starts from its preparation and goes on until pouring the concrete on sit

Establishing the Current State Map

The purpose of Current State Mapping is to map the exiting process of construction or to draw a map of actual operating process on site. Current State Mapping (CSM) allows indentifying and reporting a clear picture or view about where wastes exist, primary delays and disruptions, excessive process, bottlenecks, non-right first time, and so on. It paves the way for developing future state map and allows application of VSM. In the context of present research, a CSM has been established and it covers all existing activities and their duration (Hardin, 2011). The activities are later classified as Value Added, Non- value Added, and Essential Non-value Added Activities.

Waste Reduction and Elimination

The entire purpose of lean concept is guided by reduction or elimination of waste (Ellis, 2015). It has been attained through adopting a sequence of activities as following:

3.1 Waste Identification:

The literature identifies seven types of waste and these can be listed as below:

  • Wastage of over production
  • Waste of waiting
  • Waste of motion
  • Waste of inventory
  • Waste of transport
  • Waste of over processing
  • Waste of defects

3.2 Waste Analysis

Once the category of waste is identified from above types of wastes, the next process is followed by analysis of waste for creation of the framework. It is important to analyse and classify the wastes on the basis of activities and their ability of value addition. This includes Value Added Activities (VA), Non Value Added Activities (NVA), and Essential Non Value Added Activities (ENVA). The determination and classification of waste into specified activities are crucial for measuring overall performance process (Davis, 2016).

3.3 Fishbone Analysis

The analysis is also known as cause and effect relationship analysis and allows a visual brainstorming process to identity the major causes of delays and disruption (Malik, 2014). Besides this, it also enables identification of any causes or factors that contribute to the problem.

Selection of Lean tools/techniques for Improvement of Construction Project

It is one the major purposes of proposing the Framework, which aims at applying five key principles to the lean concept to the Indian construction project. These principles can be observed as following:

  1. Identification of Customer Value
  2. Mapping of Value Stream
  3. Determining product flow, and eliminating/reducing lean time
  4. Use of Pull logistic
  5. Seeking and achieving perfection in all operational activities

In order to implement the above principles, it is important to identify and select appropriate tools/technique of lean concept. However, their selection and application in the current project would be subject to following criteria:

  • The constraint would be evaluated with regard to the selected project and it would be analysed if the constraint can be changed or not
  • The ability of applying lean tool and technique and their efficiency would be referred to literature review chapter 

Developing the Future State Map

Future State Mapping (FSM) is typically developed after incorporating lean mange tools and techniques in such a way that allows improving work efficiency and streamlining the construction process. While creating FSM, appropriate lean tools and techniques are applied to reduce or eliminate the problem and improving the work flow of process. These tools are techniques include concepts of (standardisation, JIT, 5S, Visual Management etc). It should be noted here that the future map is constrained by limitations of on-going project (Manos and Vincent, 2012). It is done to bring improvement within the specified resources of the project. In summary, it can be stated that a future map is enhanced version of the existing current state.

3.4 Framework Limitation

 The proposed framework has a few limitations that must be considered while using for other construction projects. Among the few major limitations, it is limited to complex, uncertain and fast track projects. A project is said to be complex when its behaviour and outcomes are difficult to predict due to multi interdependencies and non-linear relationship within the parties of the project. Besides this, adoption of this framework in another construction project may be quite challenging due to strategy and managerial skills of company and their priority to deal with lean techniques. This is because; a successful implementation of any project requires “top-down” approach initially. It implies that top management must be open to adopt new technique and should accept and appreciate new practices of lean management.

3.5 Lean Construction Framework Verification: A Case Study

In order to collect primary data, site project engineer has been approached and has been requested for interview. The interview would be based on his observations related to Mivan concrete framework and he would also be providing flow of activities undertaken on the construction site. On the basis of his experience and observations, data will be collected and would be noted in written format for further analysis. It would help in making a comparison between current state mapping and future state mapping. The interview would be unstructured in nature and relevant questions with regard to Mivan technique would be included in this interview (Fowler, 2012). 

This approach would help in developing a case study for the given site. A description of the project site, where data have been collected can be observed as following:

Project Type Residential Building
Grade of Concrete M 35
Thickness of Wall External: 200 mm Internal: 100 mm
Slump 175-200 mm
Steel For Shear Wall: 16 mm Diameter For Structural Wall: 12 mm Diameter For Partition Wall: 10 mm Diameter
Slab Thickness Hall: 175 mm Bedroom: 150 mm Kitchen: 125 mm
Finishing External: Texture Paint Internal: Paint over gypsum
Area 2 BHK: 1057 square ft to 1183 square ft 3 BHK: 1509 square ft to 1636 square ft
Number of floors 9 Towers; 744 Units, 21 Floors
Project Duration 3 Years

It is a real life project, which is under construction in Pune and data have been collected from the same project. The data collected for this research includes the time duration for all concrete activities that makes a comparison for expected and actual time devoted for the same. It also identifies the variations in time line and explores the potential causes for such delays and disruptions. It has helped in creating of a map consisting actual activities under Mivan concrete process and future state mapping for attaining expected outcomes.

In the following section, a step-wise framework of research methodology has been adopted that revolves around various sub-sections like research approach, research design, data collection methods, data analysis and so on. Each of these section guides towards acquiring new and meaningful information to assist in successful attainment of research aims and objectives.

3.6 Research Strategy  

Research strategy is one of the most crucial aspects of a research methodology as it allows collecting pertinent evidences for conducting the study in a proper manner. There are two kinds of approaches that are used to conduct a research study, inductive and deductive (Boyes, 2009). Both these approaches differ to each other in terms of their approach of collecting and forming research base. The inductive research approach tends to move from specific to general information. On the other hand, deductive research approach has a tendency to move from general to specific information base for exploring a research question.

In the context of present research study, deductive research approach has been adopted and it moves from general to specific. The theories and concepts of lean management are assessed and evaluated in the general commercial context of construction projects. In addition, it is tested with regards to a specific concrete process of Mivan on an Indian project site. The deductive approach has ability to move from general to specific and holds certain benefits like it importance of VSM (Value Stream Mapping) in lean management, VSM to a specific concrete process of Mivan. In this way the scope of study is narrowed and implications of theories and concepts are tested with regard to research question only (Bryman and Bell, 2007). The orientation of specific information, which is the base of deductive research approach, has helped in developing and laying down a conceptual framework for investing present research question (Burney, 2008). As deductive approach is quantitative in nature, it has assisted in collecting relevant primary data and has allowed adopting a quantitative method of data analysis.

After selecting suitable research approach, it is important to adopt appropriate research design as per the nature of research question. The systematic and successful accomplishment of research aims and objectives revolve around adopting of an accurate research. It further helps in simplifying the research question and guiding towards right direction for solutions (Connolly 2006).

Exploratory, casual and descriptive is primarily three types of research designs, which are used for a research study. Each of these designs is characterized by investigation and search of the concerned research issue in a unique manner. With regard to present study, exploratory research design seems to be quite consisted with the nature of the study and research purpose. Feasibility of applying lean management with the VSM and its subsequent impact on an Indian project site are explored and investigated properly by the exploratory research design. Proper and thorough investigation of lean management principles and underlying research issue provides a detailed understanding about specific nature of Indian construction projects. The initial or basic understanding of the research problems is further divided into simple form and they are further studied by the exploratory research design (Cooper, 2008).

The selected research design has been helpful in analysing and exploring major challenges of VSM implementation in Indian construction projects. The assessment and analysis of factors acting as obstacles and limitations for lean management and VSM implementation allows searching for new ways to resolve them. A further exploration has helped in investing the feasibility of Mivan concrete process to an Indian construction project for reducing waste in concrete work.

 The adoption of exploratory research design has accelerated the pace of data collection and has also helped in deciding upon the most suitable sample to collect the primary data. It has been quite helpful in establishing a cause and effect relationship in the research issue (Creswell, 2003). Besides this, it helps in study and analysis of several factors that have direct and indirect impact on success of lean management for Indian construction projects. These factors have been outlined during data collection process and have helped in highlight crucial aspects of Mivan concrete process as a part of VSM technique in Indian construction projects. A through and detailed understanding of the Mivan concrete process as a part of VSM technique in the context of Indian construction projects has assisted in drawing suitable solutions to handle the identified barriers and obstacles (Crowther and Lancaster, 2008).

The purpose of adopting an appropriate research method helps in collecting relevant and meaningful information in order to attain the defined research aims and objectives. The subject area of the present research study is, “Applying Value Stream Mapping (VSM) as a Lean tool/technique to improve the process of concrete works on a Construction Project in India: A case study”.  It clearly shows a need of conducting an in-depth investigation on the underlying subject area, which is preferably a construction site. The elements that must be considered while investigating the present research question can be divided into different parts such as VSM, lean management tool, concrete work and a construction site to create a case study for this work. As a part of lean management tool, the significance of Mivan technique has already been discussed and studies in previous chapter of literature review. 

In the line of above research area and its demanding and wide nature of study, it is important to apply an appropriate research method for gathering and collecting relevant data and information (Denzin and Lincoln, 2010). In other words, an appropriate set of research methods is likely to pave the way of retrieving and collecting meaningful information in accordance with the research question and associated subject areas. In the above sections, it the research has been identified as quantitative. Hence, quantitative method of data collection and analysis has been adopted for exploring the research question. This would help in investigating and determining the feasibility of VSM application in Indian construction project. It should be noted here that advantages of lean management should be enunciated quantitatively, so that its overall benefits can be reported.

In the context of present research, the advantage of applying Mivan concrete process as a part of VSM technique as a part of lean management can be identified with regard to cost reduction, time saving, waste reduction, proper finishing, and easy handling. A quantitative figure with regard to aforementioned advantages of lean management in Indian construction project is likely to increase the applicability of this technique in the entire industry.

3.7 Sources of Data Collection

There are two major sources of data collection, primary source and secondary source. Both these sources are crucial from the perspective of a research study, as they together help in understanding the existing information about the same topic and help in investigating new sources of knowledge.  In this context, the present research administers both primary and secondary sources of data collection and it can be observed as following:

As it is evident that the present research study is quantitative in nature and requires drawing a VSM for concrete work on a project site, it is important to collect primary data from reliable sources Primary data refers to all those kinds of data, which has directly collected from respondents and are fresh in nature. These data are specifically collected to respond a research question (Fink, 2015). There are numerous sources of primary data collection such as interview, questionnaire, observations, and so on. Primary data have been collected through interview method, which has been conducted with a site engineer of the selected project.

The underlying research study also makes use of existing literature in the light of their findings and overall outcomes. Secondary data refers to all those types of data, which are readily available and have already been collection. The secondary sources that were most widely used in on order to explore present research question consist of books, journals, related articles, and online information through various sources. The research makes use of such data in the section of literature review, which allows developing a conceptual framework for conducting this study. It should be noted here that there is a considerable amount of literature available on the topic of lean management yet its implications in the context of Mivan technology is very limited. The wide availability of literary sources has provided a broad horizon for investing the research question. It also makes use of data available through official sites of construction companies (Gillham, 2010).

3.8 Ethical Considerations

It is imperative for every research study to pay due consideration to the ethical issues irrespective of the size of the research area. In this research work, ethical considerations have been given due consideration to ensure the authenticity and reliability of the outcomes. For this purpose, the complete interview has been recorded. Besides this, the observations of site engineer in the context of Mivan concrete process as a part of VSM technique and its usage in the construction projects has been available in written format (Johnson and Duberley 2010).  The respondent has been given a written assurance that the data collected from interview will only be used for academic purpose and it would not be available for the use of third party, without his consent. The study also adopts ethical approach while using secondary data and makes use of referencing and in-texting technique for ensuring their reliability and authenticity. Their ethical use ensures that secondary data and information can be verified as and when desired.

Chapter 4: Data Analysis

4.1 Introduction

The data analysis section of present research work is driven with the purpose of extracting meaningful information from primary data, which have been collected from site engineer. The site engineer is currently in charge of a residential construction project of 2-3 BHK flats. The site is named as 7 Plumeria Drive, which is a project of Bhandari Associates and Namrata Group in Pune. It has already been discussed the analysis is based on interview that is unstructured in nature and interview notes have been made. The site engineer is also responsible for providing a table of observations, which contains flow of particular activities related to concrete work. The time is recorded from the work started by any worker for a particular activity until the entire work of the same activities is finished.

The analysis has been done with the help of framework proposed for case study method, which allows creating a current state map while observing current work flow and creating a future map on the basis of value stream mapping (VSM). However, in between of these two states of maps, the major task is identification and elimination of waste. The data analyses that what causes waste or increase in lead time, how they can be classified on the nature of waste under the categories of ENVA, VA and NVA. Besides this, what lean management technique can be used for reduction or elimination of such wastes.

In addition a comparison has also been presented in conventional method of undertaking construction project and use of Mivan technique. It has been presented in terms of cost, time, quality and waste management. Following is the analysis of primary data collected from site engineer of the 7 Plumeria Drive residential project:

Detailed about the Structure:

The data for this work has been acquired for 7 Plumeria Drive residential project, which specifications are as follow:

Project Type Residential Building
Grade of Concrete M 35
Slab Thickness   Hall: 175 mm Bedroom: 150 mm Kitchen: 125 mm
Finishing         External: Texture Paint Internal: Paint over gypsum
Area 2 BHK: 1057 square ft to 1183 square ft 3 BHK: 1509 square ft to 1636 square ft
Number of floors 9 Towers; 744 Units, 21 Floors
Project Duration 3 Years

An application of proposed framework on the data collected for above project from site engineer tends to highlight following results.

1. Process Map for the Activities:

A total of 13 activities have been recorded by the site engineer and these activities are crucial from the perspectives of Mivan concrete process, which is a part of VSM lean technique. Following is the sequence of activities, which are undertaken during construction of the selected site:

Table 4.1: Activities undertaken in the construction work

Sr No Activities
1 Metal segregation
2 Line on slab floor
3 Rebar for walls
4 Fitting of wall Panels
5 Fitting of Beam Bottom
6 Steel for beam and Chajjas
7 Fittings of beam Panels
8 Fitting of slab corners
9 Slab panel Installation
10 Installing Slab reinforcement
11 Electric point Fitting
12 Check for any adjustment
13 Concreting and Curing

On the basis of above activities collected from actual site, it was found that fitting of slab corners and checking for any adjustment required a lot of extra time and overrun cost, as control and monitoring process for these activities are slow in pace and are done by traditional technique that itself needs to be improved.

2. Establishing the Current State Map

It is important to present a list of table, which covers symbols that have been used for establishing current state map:

Table: Symbols and their Meaning

Symbols Name and Meaning
ENVA, VA, NVA Essential Non-Value Added activities, value added activities, non-value added activities
Connectors, represent the relationship
Represents flow of activities

On the basis of above framework, a current state map has been established while considering all these 13 activities of the project. The purpose of plotting this map is to identify to the difference between planned time scale for each activity and actual time scale for these activities. In this way, the data related to disrupted time can be collected and causes of disruption can also be explored. Once the causes of disruption are explored they can be further classified into type of activity including ENVA, VA, NVA. Table 4.1 represents the data related to planned time scale and actual time scale:

Table 4.2: List of Construction Activities and Time Duration

Sr No Activities Planned Time Scale Actual Time Scaled
1 Metal segregation 6 hrs 8 hrs
2 Line on slab floor 8 hrs 8.5hrs
3 Rebar for walls 14 hrs 16 hrs
4 Fitting of wall Panels 8 hrs 9 hrs
5 Fitting of Beam Bottom 8 hrs 8.42 hrs
6 Steel for beam and Chajjas 8 hrs 10 hrs
7 Fittings of beam Panels 6 hrs 6 hrs
8 Fitting of slab corners 4.5 hrs 4.87 hrs
9 Slab panel Installation 8 hrs 9 hrs
10 Installing Slab reinforcement 7 hrs 10 hrs
11 Electric point Fitting 8 hrs 8.92 hrs
12 Check for any adjustment 1 hr 3 hrs
13 Concreting and Curing 8 hrs 10 hrs
  Total 94.5 hrs 111.71 hrs

It is evident from above table that 13 activities have been selected by the site engineer and time for each activity has also been observed. In the current state or with conventional technique of construction it takes a total of 94.5 hours, when the work is done as per planned time scale. However, actual time scale significantly differs from expected on and it takes 111.71 hours. The difference in actual and expected time is 17.21 hours that is corresponding to more than 15% of the allocated time scale. It suggests that use of conventional method in construction accounts for about 28% of waste of time.

            On the basis of above activities and planned time to undertake these activities current state map has been established that can be plotted as following:

Figure 4.1: Currnet State Map

Once the Current State Map is established, it is important to study the difference between planned time for activities and actual time for the same activities. This would help in identifying the potential causes of delay and this can be done through Waste Reduction/Elimination process.

3.  Waste Reduction/Elimination Process:

From the construction point of view any delay or performing non-value added activities are considered as waste. It is essential to identify the wastes during the concrete and also explore the potential causes of waste. Plotting current sate map facilitates waste identification and paves the way for potential improvement. As per the proposed framework, a three step process has been followed for waste reduction and elimination. These are followed in the sequences of

  1. Waste Identification
  2. Waste Analysis
  3. Fishbone Diagram

Once the current state map has been established, the identification of waste has become easier. The above activities of concrete process have been divided into three parts and are known as following:

  • Value Added Activities (VA): These activities refer to all those work that directly contribute to final results and consumers are willing to pay for the same.
  • Non-Value Added Activities (NV): These activities do not add any value to final product either directly or indirectly and are considered to be complete waste. These activities must be eliminated from the process
  • Essential Non-Value Added Activities (ENVA): These activities are said to be crucial from the perspectives of value added activity as they enable them to take place, but ENVA directly does not add any value to the process.

3.1 Waste Identification:

On the basis of Current State Map, waste identification has been done and its result can be presented as below:

 

Table 4.3 Causes of Disruption and Type of Activity

               An analysis of activities undertaken at construction sites tends to identify the types of waste and potential causes of disruption. It is evident from table 4.3 that metal segregation is an important essential non-value added activities, but it needs to be performed in order to make other activities smooth and value oriented. The customers are not going to pay for these activities, but are important from construction perspective, as it adds superior value to the construction.  In this regard, table 4.2 demonstrates that it takes almost 2 hours extra to the planned time and it is equal to 25% of disruption. In the same manner other activities can also be compared to the data of 4.2 and they equally accounts for 28% of the disruption on the construction sites.

Activities Type of Waste identified Waste Descriptions
Metal segregation ENVA It is important for segregation of metal, but does not add any direct value
Line on slab floor ENVA Increase waiting time, important for demarcation
Rebar for walls VA Rebar for walls is a directly value added activity
Fitting of wall Panels ENVA It is important for effective Mivan Concrete Process
Fitting of Beam Bottom VA It directly adds value to the process as it would determine the quality of construction
Insufficient supply of cut steel for beams ENVA It is important for roof and racks, but are removed later
 Fittings of beam Panels ENVA It is needed for quality construction
Fitting of slab corners ENVA It is considered as rework, but is is required for the best quality
Slab panel Installation ENVA It is an essential waste to make change at early stage of concrete process
Installing Slab reinforcement VA Adds directly value for customers due to design and space elements
Electric point Fitting VA Adds direct value to the safety and space to the flats
Check for any adjustment NVA It is very repetitive in nature and should be avoided or either sequence should be decided
Concreting and Curing VA It is quite important and directly adds to quality

3.2 Waste Analysis

 The amount of disrupted time and its respective index can be analysed as following:

Table 4.3: Disrupted Time and Index of Activity Sheet

Sr No Activities Disrupted time Disrupted Index
1 Metal segregation 2 hrs 25%
2 Line on slab floor 0.5 hrs 5.88%
3 Rebar for walls 2 hrs 12.50%
4 Fitting of wall Panels 1 hr 11.11%
5 Fitting of Beam Bottom 0.42 hrs 4.99%
6 Steel for beam and Chajjas 2 hrs 20%
7 Fittings of beam Panels 0 0
8 Fitting of slab corners 0.37 hrs 7.60%
9 Slab panel Installation 1 hr 11.11%
10 Installing Slab reinforcement 3 hrs 30
11 Electric point Fitting 0.92 hrs 10.31%
12 Check for any adjustment 2 hrs 66.67%
13 Concreting and Curing 2 hrs 20%
  Total 17.21 hrs 15.41%

In the line of Table 3.1, it can be observed from Table 2 that checking for any adjustment is the biggest disrupted activity and it accounts for more than 66% required time that what has been actually planned. The activity labelled as installing slab reinforcement results into 28% of disruption time in comparison of planned time. This activity is followed by metal segregation, which takes 25% of extra time than the planned one. It should be noted form above table that steel for beam and Chajjas activity and concreting and curing take equally extra time and it equals to 20% of the disrupted time. The least deviating activity is fitting for beam bottom, which less than 5% of extra time than planned time. All these activities have been recorded till the entire work is completed for a particular residential construction of a 3 BHK flat.

It is important to discuss about labour and equipment used for this project to carry out such activities. Table 3 provides this information as follows:

Table 4.4: Resources Used for Performing Selected Construction Activities:  

Sr No Activities Labours/Equipments
1 Metal segregation 8 – Mason, 2 – Helper
2 Line on slab floor 3 – Mason, 1-Site Engineer
3 Rebar for walls 5 – Metal fitter, 20 – Helper
4 Fitting of wall Panels 25 – Carpenter, 25 – Helper
5 Fitting of Beam Bottom 25 – Carpenter, 25 – Helper
6 Steel for beam and Chajjas 13 – Carpenter, 12 – Helper
7 Fittings of beam Panels 25 – Carpenter, 25 – Helper
8 Fitting of slab corners 25 – Carpenter, 25 – Helper
9 Slab panel Installation 25 – Carpenter, 25 – Helper
10 Installing Slab reinforcement 15 – Fitter, 10 – Helper
11 Electric point Fitting 3 – Electricians, 1 – Helper
12 Check for any adjustment 3 – Mason, 1-Site Engineer
13 Concreting and Curing 13 – Carpenter, 12 – Helper

The above table shows that each activity accounts for some resources that attract some cost for construction project. In addition, it also generates waste that can be minimized with the help of lean management technique. However, it requires a clear identification of factors that leads to disrupted time or waste of time. On the basis of interview conducted with site engineer and his observation of work flow activities, following activities can be identified and classified as major reasons of disruption:

Table 4.5: Caused of Disruption during Construction Activities

Sr No Activities Cause of disruption
1 Metal segregation Improper staking of the formwork panels, while unloading panels on site
2 Line on slab floor Use of Traditional measuring instrument
3 Rebar for walls Manual bending causing defective pieces and time utilization
4 Fitting of wall Panels Manual handling, incorrect stacking of wall panels at the floor
5 Fitting of Beam Bottom Short heighted scaffolding installed
6 Steel for beam and Chajjas Insufficient supply of cut steel for beams
7 Fittings of beam Panels —-
8 Fitting of slab corners Personal conflicts between labours
9 Slab panel Installation Rework due to unrevised drawing used
10 Installing Slab reinforcement Slab reinforcement drawing having incorrect dimensions
11 Electric point Fitting Insufficient electrical inventory, Poor communication between Main contractor and electrician
12 Check for any adjustment Use of Traditional measuring instrument
13 Concreting and Curing Failure of concrete pump while concreting work

Table 4.5 clearly shows a number of reasons for disrupted work and a few of major among them can be identified as manual bending of metals, improper planning, poor communication and even personal conflicts of labour on the construction sites. It should be worth pointing here that many of these activities are not only irrelevant to the work but can also be classified as non-value adding activities. On the basis of information acquired from site engineer and study of work-flow activities on site construction, a classification and presentation of value added and non-value added activities can be observed as following:

Table 4.6: Classification of Value Added and Non-Value Added Activities during Construction

Non-Value Added Activities Value Added Activities
Improper staking of the formwork panels, while unloading panels on site Manual bending causing defective pieces and time utilization
Use of Traditional measuring instrument Short heighted scaffolding installed
Manual handling, incorrect stacking of wall panels at the floor Slab reinforcement drawing having incorrect dimensions
Insufficient supply of cut steel for beams Insufficient electrical inventory
Personal conflicts between labours Failure of concrete pump while concreting work
Rework due to unrevised drawing used  

The above table implies that a few activities that although cause time disruption may not be important from the perspective of site engineer and can be termed as value added. However, they require improvement in order to reduce the wastage of time while undertaking the same activities. The identification of current problems and along with their causes has helped in creation of a drawing that is based on VSM (Value Stream Mapping).  It should be noted here that the future state map is based on Mivan concrete process as a part of VSM technique, which is a lean management system and helps in reducing the level of waste during concrete work of construction project.  On the basis of the interview and observations of the site engineer following waste analysis can be remarked:

3.3 Fishbone Diagram

On the basis of above waste identification and subsequent analysis, Fish Bone diagram has been prepared and it can be presented as following:

Disrupted Index= Disrupted Duration/Actual Duration

Metal segregation
Increase in waiting time
Fitting of Wall panel and slabs
Tagging of panels
Sharing of exact information
Reduction in Lead waiting time

 

 

 

 

4. Lean Technique for Waste Reduction and Elimination

            After identification and analysis of waste and their types, it is important to look for ways to minimize or complete eliminate the waste and this is the purpose of lean concept. VSM allows exploring more values for customer through application of specific lean technique. Table () covers the proposed lean method for improving the productivity and reducing the identified wastes:

Table 4.7: Causes of Disruption and Proposed Lean Technique

Cause of disruption Lean technique used
Improper staking of the formwork panels, while unloading panels on site Last Planner and 5s
Use of Traditional measuring instrument Co-ordination
Manual bending causing defective pieces and time utilization Last Planner, Visualisation and standardisation
Manual handling, incorrect stacking of wall panels at the floor 5s
Short heighted scaffolding installed Last planner
Insufficient supply of cut steel for beams Visualization and Standardisation
Personal conflicts between labours Collaboration
Rework due to unrevised drawing used Standardisation
Slab reinforcement drawing having incorrect dimensions Visualisation, Collaboration
Insufficient electrical inventory, Poor communication between Main contractor and electrician Collaboration and Co-ordination
Use of Traditional measuring instrument Standardisation and Co-ordination
Failure of concrete pump while concreting work Standardisation and Co-ordination

The above table suggests that standardisation of the process is the key of lean management and it is important to reduce the frequency or eliminate the repetition of non-value added activities. The applications of lean management techniques are likely to reduce or eliminate the waste. Once the waste are reduced or eliminated through application of lean management technique, the current state of process improves and goes forward towards a process that is more refined and structured in comparison of CSM. This forwards stage is known as future state of VSM and can be plotted as following:

5. Establishment of Future State Map

The future state map, which is plotted through VSM is characterised by reduction and elimination of waste through application of relevant lean management technique to each type of wastes (Mahdjoubi, Brebbia and Laing, 2015). This map can be summarised as Future State Map= Current State Map- Waste (Disrupted activity). While drawing a future state map all the activities were properly analysed and a corrective measure was taken to reduce or eliminate wastes in current state. For this purpose, corrective measures have been taken in the light of real problem and a summary of these activities can be demonstrated as following.

 The table covers below corrective actions:

Sr No Activities Actions taken by
1 Metal segregation All the panels were tagged with sequential numbers and were staked accordingly; Secondly every sub-contractor were involved to share information to have a common understanding about the tagging system.
2 Line on slab floor Marking was done by using theodolite.
3 Rebar for walls The labors were given with particular drawing of each steel member. It was further allocated to particular fitter to avoid any changes in adjustment in bar bending which produced waste. Every sub-contractor was divided into different groups which provided that only produced particular steel for the given member as well need to install them. At joints the members where co-ordinate accordingly.
4 Fitting of wall Panels The tagging of panels now helped them to analysis right staking of the panels
5 Fitting of Beam Bottom Every requirement was priory discussed with contractor to avoid such inappropriate adjustment
6 Steel for beam and Chajjas AS the process was standardized it has now been easy to know the actual quantity required hence avoid such shortfall of materials.
7 Fittings of beam Panels —-
8 Fitting of slab corners The whole area was divided into particular zones which were allocated to each team formed by workers, which worked only in defined zones to avoid lapping of work.
9 Slab panel Installation The drawings provided were now encoded from the architect and every updated version was been displayed on the board to avoid confusions.
10 Installing Slab reinforcement Collaborate with engineers and architect while reviewing the drawings to avoid further ambiguity in the resubmission.
11 Electric point Fitting The requirement was co-ordinate by collaboration with Engineers, Main contractors and electrical contractors to avoid any stock out.  
12 Check for any adjustment Marking was done by using theodolite.
13 Concreting and Curing Frequent checks and maintenance was scheduled and every part was changed after its life span to avoid any sudden breakdown.

Figure 2: Future State Mapping

On the basis of above corrective measures, a future state map has been drawn. This map tends to reduce or eliminate the waste by a quantitative figure of 28%. It is evident from literature review, that for other countries the improvement in construction process lies between 25% and 31%. The same trend has been observed for Indian construction site and it comes around 28%. This implies that similar trends can be noticed across the globe and use of VSM is likely to improve the concrete process positively. On the basis of above corrective action and its subsequent impact on waste reduction, a future state map has been plotted that can be observed as following:

It has helped in attaining a better productivity while eliminating waste and responding to causes of disruption. In order to understand the improvement to the process, following table has been presented. 

Table 4.8: Time Duration of Each Activity in Future State:

Sr No Activities Final time (Future state map) Percentage of improvement
1 Metal segregation 5.76 hrs 28%
2 Line on slab floor 6.12 hrs 28%
3 Rebar for walls 11.52 hrs 28%
4 Fitting of wall Panels 6.48 hrs 28%
5 Fitting of Beam Bottom 6.06 hrs 28%
6 Steel for beam and Chajjas 7.2 hrs 28%
7 Fittings of beam Panels 4.32 hrs 28%
8 Fitting of slab corners 3.51 hrs 28%
9 Slab panel Installation 6.48 hrs 28%
10 Installing Slab reinforcement 7.2 hrs 28%
11 Electric point Fitting 6.42 hrs 28%
12 Check for any adjustment 0 100.00%
13 Concreting and Curing 7.2 hrs 28%

On the basis of table 6, it can be stated that if the work is done with the help of Mivan concrete process, it is likely to reduce the entire time duration by more than 20 hours and also shows and overall improvement of 28% for the same. It clearly shows that use of Mivan concrete process has a positive impact on the waste reduction as it limits the lead time for less productive activity. Besides this, it can be observed from the table that in Mivan concrete process check for adjustment is not required as the framework is already customized as per the need of construction and only placement is important for this activity. It shows that many of the repetitive activities can be reduced or completely eliminated with the help of lean management technique.

The above table provides adequate data for developing an overall understanding regarding current and future state mapping of the construction site. Both these maps are crucial from the perspectives of VSM, which is lean management technique and helps in reduction of elimination of waste. It should be noted here that the site engineer has also provided adequate information about possible causes of disruption in the work that results into increase in lead time while performing the particular task.

The change in duration of time after elimination of only Essential Non-Value Added activities can be reported as following:

Chart 1: Time Duration after eliminating ENVA only

The above graph indicates that after elimination and reduction of essentially non-value added activities there has been a change of 15.5 hours that is corresponding to 28% of the improvement in the process. These activities include the work flow related to improper staking of the formwork panels, while unloading panels on site, use of traditional measuring instrument, manual handling, incorrect stacking of wall panels at the floor, personal conflicts between labours, and rework due to unrevised drawing used.

Chart 2: Time Duration after reduction of Waste in Value Added Activities

The elimination of waste in value added activities such as manual bending causing defective pieces and time utilization, short heighted scaffolding installed, slab reinforcement drawing having incorrect dimensions, insufficient electrical inventory, poor communication between main contractor and electrician, and failure of concrete pump while doing concreting work has resulted into reduction of 14.94 hours of lead time. In present state these activities account for 55.34 hours that has reduces to 38.40 hours to future state map. The reduction in overall lead time is also correspondents to 28% of the overall time.

            It is evident from the above charts that unnecessary process such as conflict among labours and waiting time are two of seven types of waste. Rework due to unrevised drawing used is another waste that adds no value to the work. These activities can be eliminated through proper coordination and standardisation of work flow on the construction site. By implementing one the lean techniques, quality right at the first time, the ENVA improved to 39.87 hours from 55.37 hours, 28% of improvement. The improvement in VA was 38.40 hours from 55.34 hours, an overall reduction time of 28% on construction site.

The maps; named as Current State Mapping and Future State Mapping has been developed on the basis of data presented through Table 1 to 6. The data has helped in identification and classification of factors that are crucial from the perspective of future state mapping, as it eliminates or reduces frequency or occurrence of non-value added activities. It implies that implementation of Mivan framework in the most effective and ideal way results into reduction of a waste by 28%. The future state mapping acts a guiding state that is characterised by elimination of non-value added activities and they are responsible for increased lead time and waste during current production process. On the basis of current and future sate map, a set of lean techniques can be identified for elimination of disrupting factors.

Summary

The data analysis section of present research work suggests that Mivan concrete process as a part of VSM technique of lean management of lean management has helped the construction site in waste reduction, which is the result of limiting non-value added activities. It is evident from above data and their analysis that VSM has been able to provide a future state, which is the future mapping state and this state is characterised by reduction of improvement of 28% of productivity at the construction site. This has been feasible due to appropriate identification of ENVA and NVA activities that are work flow related to improper staking of the formwork panels, while unloading panels on site, use of traditional measuring instrument, manual handling, incorrect stacking of wall panels at the floor, personal conflicts between labours, and rework due to unrevised drawing used. Besides this the drawing of future state map has also enabled reviewing the valued added activities and look for ways to reduce the lead time. It can be stated that constructions sites are likely to get benefit of Mivan concrete process as a part of VSM technique of lean management, which allows a visualization of future states of each activity in construction and their ideal time to complete it.

Chapter 5: Conclusion and Recommendations

The research was driven with the purpose of studying the feasibility of applying Value Stream Mapping (VSM) as a Lean tool/technique to improve the process of concrete works on a Construction Project in India. It took an ongoing project in Pune and created a case study to explore the purpose. The case study was created through a framework that is based on literary survey and interview method, which is unstructured in nature and collects data from site engineer. The developed framework consists of five components including 1) Creating a Process Map, 2) Establishing a Current State Map, 3) Waste Reduction and Elimination, 4) Identification of lean technique, and 5) Creating Future State Map. In order to verify validate the applicability of the framework, a case study was created and the entire concrete process of a construction work was studied and evaluated.

Research Findings

On the basis of present research work, major findings can be reported as following:

  • There is a difference of around 19% between planned time scale and actual time scale of activities undertaken on construction site in the current state
  • This difference is the result of wastes like waiting time in fittings of beam panels, fitting of slab corners, conflict of opinion among workers, poor communication and decision making of supervisor
  • The use of Value Stream Mapping has helped in establishing a current state map, which covers the existing process of the construction and highlights the differences between planned time scale and actual time
  • The identification and classification of wastes as per their category has helped in selecting the best suitable lean technique to resolve the problem
  • Many of the well known lean management techniques are not effective in construction industry as they are effective in manufacturing. Lean management techniques such as visual management, just-in-time, collaboration, benchmarking, and prefabrication techniques may not bring the desire result in construction industry. This is because; the role of standardization and communication is paramount in this industry.
  • It has been conclude through waste analysis that 20% of the activities during Mivan concrete process can be termed to be waste and they are the part of ENVA and NVA. These activities can be improved through implementation of relevant lean management technique. However, their applicability must be validated with the help of adopted framework.
  • The VSM technique of lean management has allows making a comparison between actual processes and expected one. This is based on empirical evidences and suggests that once ENVA activities are controlled or reduced; they are likely to improve the entire concrete process by 28% and the same can be observed for the NVA activities as well.
  •  The establishment of future state map through VSM clearly suggests that concrete process can be improved by 28%, if the waste in existing process is eliminated.
  • The major barriers of lean application in concrete process of Indian construction project can be identified as lack of standardisation and sequence of activities, poor communication between supervisor and worker, and excessive use of traditional technique
  • Above barriers can be reduced or eliminated through a visual management approach, which highlights the differences between what is actually going-on and what should have been done to eliminate the waste.
  • Finally it was noted that application of framework to the case study has been able to reduce the disruption time and waste by 28%. This can be seen as a huge saving of time, cost and quality for a construction project. The 28% saving in time implies that the cost will be saved accordingly as equipments and resources will be less used and cost on these elements of production can be saved.
  • It also has a positive impact on quality of the work as standardising the activities would allow a better monitoring , and the work is likely to be done accurately in the first time rather than going for revision and rework.

On the basis of above findings for this research work; following recommendation can be provided

Recommendations

On the basis of adopted framework and findings of the research work a few or the improvement can be suggested. Some of the recommended practices that should be used for the application of lean construction methods include pull planning, wormpit and Building Information Modelling (BIM).

Pull Planning: Pull planning is a method that is used for matching up the different elements which are required to actually perform the work. In a lean strategy, the concept of pull is considered as an integral part where an upstream activity cannot occur until the downstream entity triggers a request (Lundesjo, 2015). The main aim of pull planning is to design a project-based manufacturing system in compliance with the lean principles. Pull planning is considered as an effective technique that should be used for outlining and meeting the scheduled deadline of the construction projects. While using this strategy, work tasks, deliveries of the materials and information flow should be planned on the request of the downstream customers (Knapp, 2012).

Using pull planning, the workflow becomes more efficient and reliable because the waste of waiting, over-processing and redundancy are minimised. In this process, all the work should be clear as to outcome, content and timing. Moreover, the production pathway should be direct and simple. In this approach sticky walls are used that increases discussion and collaboration among the team members (Davis, 2016). Pull planning should be handed correctly so that miscommunication are eliminated and every team member in integrally involved in the process of planning.

Building Information Modeling (BIM): BIM is a process that describes the building through the use of a digital model which can be understood by everyone. BIM is used in many construction industries as a 3D model-based process that helps in achieving lean construction principles by enhancing team productivity, minimising waste, creating positive project outcomes and cutting costs (Mahdjoubi, Brebbia and Laing, 2015). In order to use BIM structural engineers and architects should be involved in the projects.

The research demonstrates that slab reinforcement drawing having incorrect dimensions is one the common wastes in the concrete process. It is recommended that the BIM based scheduling should be used for more detailed and quick sequencing. It should also be used for quick visualisation, better monitoring and construction planning. Instead of using 2D modelling BIM should be recommended as this model helps in accomplishing project with no errors and also denies overlapping of the elements. It is also recommended that further study should be done for the decomposition of the elements (Hardin, 2011). The use of BIM based scheduling should only be recommended for detailed construction planning and monitoring projects.

Wormpit: In order to increase the profitability of any business WORMPIT is considered as one of the most effective ways (Knapp, 2012). WORMPIT is the acronym that is used for the seven types of wastes of lean manufacturing such as waiting, over production, rejects, motion, processing, inventory, and transportation. Cross training, appropriate distributions of training and adequate maintenance are the appropriate methods that should be used to eliminate waste of waiting (Ellis, 2015). In order to eliminate overproduction waste, proper planning processes and Just-in-case production should be used. In addition to this, appropriate communication should be established between the departments. In order to eliminate waste of motion, high quality equipments along with effective layouts should be used along with appropriate workplace organisation and process documentation.

Processing waste can be eliminated by investing in smaller and more flexible equipments, combining steps and building manufacturing cells. Unnecessary inventory is a result of overproduction and waiting which can be controlled by achieving a seamless flow across the work centres. It can also be controlled by proper demand forecasting, inventory planning and balanced production process. Transportation waste is difficult to minimise but mapping the product flow can help in minimising transportation waste. Other strategies for reducing transportation waste should be using appropriate facility layout, scheduling and production planning.

Limitations of the Research Work

The research has a few limitations that must be discussed in order to increase the validity and reliability of the findings, and their applications for other similar type of project. The first limitation is related to with the time, as such work needs a lot of time in data collection. This is because; the activities are revised and repeated many times and they must be accurately observed and reported as per the changes. Another limitation can be expressed in terms of approach of data collection and analysis. The data have been collected from site engineer, who is also responsible for providing process map of existing activities. On the basis of existing activities, waste is identified and classified, and reduced or eliminated. However, any deviation in reporting the planned and actual time for activities may lead to less reliable outcomes. Therefore, it must be controlled through examining the same activities for similar type of construction.

The research makes use of a framework for creating a case study. In the context, it should be noted that every project is unique in itself and activities, which are undertaken may differ in sequences. Therefore, application of research findings for other construction site must be examined in the light of concrete process. This is because, it required a similarity between the projects undertaken for present research work and for other construction site.

Future Research Work:

The present research work undertakes the question of VSM applicability in the construction projects of India and it shows that lean can be applied in this industry. The future research can be taken for exploring the impact of lean application on cost and quality of an Indian Project.

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