A Study of Lean in Construction Industry and Its Benefits and Applicability in SMES in Construction Industry in India
The construction industry has been far too traditional over the years and failed to maintain its profit margins and companies are finding it difficult to remain competitive. There has been little to no technological advancement in the construction sector and the companies have been reluctant to spend on R&D. Lean construction was introduced to the construction sector with an aim of improving quality of work and reduce waste along with ensuring timely delivery of projects. The SMEs in the Indian construction industry are facing the same problems but there is little to no literature specifically on the benefits and implementation of lean construction for them. This research aims to understand if lean construction is beneficial for the current problems of SMEs in construction in India and what are the critical success factors and how lean tools like LPS, Kanban and 5S be implemented in SMEs in construction in India. For this the researcher reviewed evident literature on lean, its benefits, lean in construction and conducted interviews of owners of SMEs in construction in India. It was found out that lean construction tools would help SMEs in India tackle their current problems like need to improve quality, material management issues, ensuring timely delivery of projects, and need to increase customer value. Furthermore, factors such as top management’s knowledge of lean, lack of training and unskilled labors, finances and supply chain and contractor issues were identified as barriers towards the implementation of lean construction. Finally, the researcher recommends an action plan for the implementation of lean construction tools where emphasis is given on supplier integration and identifying staff training needs to ensure sustained implementation. This action plan suggests the implementing 5S followed by Kanban would be beneficial and after developing a better understanding of their processes companies can move towards more complex tools like LPS.
Keywords- Lean philosophy, Lean construction, KANBAN, 5S, LPS