Lean Product-Process Development Process:
From 0D to 3D over Time
Corresponding Author: Tommelein, Iris D.
Author(s): Tommelein, I.D., Ballard, G., Miles, B., Gil, N., and Tsao, C.
Organisation(s): U.C. Berkeley (USA)
An integrated product-process development model is presented that applies to high-tech AEC facilities. These facilities are extremely complex and involve numerous specialist designers, construction engineers, and managers working together in a design-build alliance. In order for this alliance to be most successful, participants need to relay their design and production system choices in a timely matter so others can provide feedback and proceed accordingly. Our system integrates product and process modeling tools so that the entire development of the facility from design through construction can be represented as choices are being made. Initial design choices are often scalar (0-dimensional or 0D) whereas later choices lock in the topology and geometry (3-dimensional or 3D). We are specifically focusing our attention on uncertainties in the system and delays at hand-offs between project participants. Our goals are to reduce those delays and strategically introduce buffers to help expedite the process overall while at the same time increasing product quality, goals which are part of the theory of lean construction.

This research is in its first year of a three-year project funded by the National Science Foundation and is being conducted in close collaboration with our industrial partner, Industrial Design Corporation (IDC). IDC is a leading design-construct firm, with 14 offices worldwide, delivering complex projects for the microelectronics, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and chemical industry. To complete these projects at the increasingly fast pace demanded in this industry, multiple-specialty subcontractors and consultants are assembled into a team. Innovative construction management practices such as joint ventures, incentives, and other contracting mechanisms that align interests are common. IDC is working with us on implementing lean construction techniques on their projects.