Value Stream Mapping As A Lean Tool For Construction

Value stream mapping as a lean tool for construction

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International Journal of Structural and Civil Engineering Research Vol. 8, No. 1, February 2019
Value Stream Mapping as a Lean Tool for
Construction Projects
Murat Gunduz
Department of Civil and Architecture Engineering, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Email: [email protected]
Ayman Naser
Department of Industrial Engineering, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Email: [email protected]
Abstract — Based on lean thinking which developed from in industrial construction remain understudied ([6], [7],
the Toyota industry, seek to wastes elimination, increase the [8]). The application of VSM in real construction
value added to the product from customer point of view and industry has not received enough attention by researchers
reduce lead time are the main contributes in manufacturing due to the difficulty in implementation of VSM in a real
industrial environment. Some adaptations have been
construction activity

applied in construction industry by using a Value Stream
Mapping as a lean construction tool. VSM was adapted to This paper aims to propose improvements in
reduce the high percentage of non-value-added activities construction execution process especially for
and time wastes during each construction stage. Moreover, construction of pipelines using VSM to identify wastes
a cost estimation model was developed during current state and elaborate a future state. This paper’s main
and future state to calculate the cost of underground contribution is the reduction of wastes and cost in the
pipeline construction. Therefore, this paper aims to propose process flow, establishing an optimum situation in a
improvements in the construction industry process using setting where the integration of VSM and cost methods
Value Stream Mapping. Therefore, the research was used together to develop a systematic framework in
methodology adopted was the illustrative case study. The
Lean Construction for the application in others projects

results suggest that the construction of underground
pipelines process lead time could be potentially reduced by The scope of this paper is restricted to the construction
30.7 % and cost reduction of 20.8 % between current and of underground pipelines process which attempts to
future states.  integrate the VSM, LOB and cost calculation based on
VSM in construction environment. Consequently, a
Index Terms—Value Stream Mapping (VSM), Line of future map with proposed improvements is developed, as
Balance (LOB), Lean Construction, underground pipeline well as the working plans, used to monitor the
project, Cost of Value Stream Mapping implementation project [8]

The construction industry is increasingly moving The main purpose of this project is to recognize the
towards the adoption of sustainable strategies and importance of application of value stream mapping in the
increased efficiency targets ([1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], construction industry by applying the concept on a real
[8]). construction project. Moreover, it introduces and
Value Stream Mapping has been utilized in many evaluates the implementation of a cost based VSM in the
businesses that to maintain their competitiveness in a construction industry. Evaluate the effectiveness for the
booming worldwide market. Value Stream Mapping is integration of VSM, LOB and cost based VSM as a tool
designed to eliminate all activities that do not add value to improve the value added and reduce the time wastes in
throughout the production process [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], construction activities in comparison to the entire lead
[7]). Basically, it is a new phrase that originates from process time. In this direction, this paper seeks to validate
Toyota’s material and information flow diagrams and and suggest future state mapping based on the improved
was designed to help Toyota’s suppliers learn the Toyota results for future standardization by answering the
Production System [2]. The main concept of Value following question: “How can costing of VSM improve
Stream Mapping has been utilized globally in services, the process construction of underground pipelines?”
manufacturing, healthcare and construction

Despite the efforts for sustainability studies in building III. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
and infrastructure construction, the sustainability issues
An explanatory case study of construction of
underground pipelines was utilized as the research
Manuscript received July 6, 2018; revised October 21, 2018

© 2019 Int. J. Struct. Civ. Eng. Res. 69
doi: 10.18178/ijscer.8.1.69-74
International Journal of Structural and Civil Engineering Research Vol. 8, No. 1, February 2019
strategy, because it is the most relevant activity in the evaluated for estimation and bidding purpose for similar
schedule and budget of the project and, therefore, the future projects

proposed improvements would develop a vital impact

The collected data included from different resources: IV. CASE STUDY
interviews with construction manager and foremen,
Construction industry is suffering from delay and cost
administrative documents and direct observation. The
overrun worldwide. The delays in construction are time
analysis concentrated on the identification of wastes and
wastes oriented, caused by unproductive work, idle
problems faced in the process in order to propose
improvements. manpower and equipment time. Construction industry
Construct validity was addressed by comparing the produces huge amounts of time wastes that negatively
affect the economy. A large number of studies related to
data collected with principles reported in Lean
delay in construction projects have been conducted
Construction’s literature. Rother and Shook proposed
shows that lean management tools has been used to
five steps to implement Lean Thinking through VSM;
select a family of products, map the current state, analyze overcome and minimize the delays. Past studies did not
the current state, map the future state and elaborate the apply VSM and cost together. In this study, the cost
based VSM technique was utilized on a real construction
work and implementation plan (2003). In this study, the

stages of productive process for construction were
The construction of underground pipelines is one of
selected instead of selecting a family of products to
the construction types that produce a huge amount of
initiate VSM. Work plan and required manpower was set
according to feedback from current state to optimize the time wastes which lead to delay in the project completion
process and ensure wastes are minimized in combination dates. For this study, construction of underground
pipelines was selected as a case due to the repetitiveness
with line of balance technique (LOB)

of the construction activities and easy to understand in
In this research and in line with the concept of value
the entire construction. As per project contract, the scope
stream mapping, the approach of cost based VSM in
of work was construction of pipeline (36-inch diameter)
construction is identified and established. The cost based
of value stream mapping is computed on weekly basis network of 36.5 km. The first step in the value stream
and it takes into consideration all costs related to value mapping technique is developing a process flow diagram
to provide a clear picture about every stage for the
stream mapping activities

construction of pipeline as mentioned in Fig. 1

The cost calculation was done for current and future
states and then comparison between them has been
Figure 1. Work flow diagram
The construction of pipeline requires a lot of excavation. The total time of traveling of the truck and
coordination from different disciplines. Thus, the data damping material is around 25 minutes. The required
and information were collected to study the flows of supervision is one supervisor, three operators and three
material and information. The construction stages started civil workers. The second stage is trench bedding; four
with excavation of the required trench provides a safe laborers perform clearing the trench, manual digging and
access and safe trench width. The required width is 2.5 necessary general field activities to ensure the trench is in
meter for pipe diameter of 36 inch. Two 30 ton dumping “U” shape and ready to receive the bedding material
trucks and one excavator were utilized to perform trench which is used underneath the pipeline network. The next
© 2019 Int. J. Struct. Civ. Eng. Res. 70
International Journal of Structural and Civil Engineering Research Vol. 8, No. 1, February 2019
stage is pipe laying; after the inspection of the trench, the layers and each layer has to be well compacted to ensure
pipes and fittings were shifted by crane and trailer with the soil and material is uniformly distribution

assistance of two operators, one supervisor and two pipe
A. Waste Times Identification
fitters. The required time for shifting the material to site
construction is 60 minutes. After that Pipes and fittings Waste time means cost and this cost was not
fit-up: The fit-up crew (three pipe fitters and one considered during estimation or considered during
supervisor) is responsible for stringing and aligning the construction. Value stream as a lean tool adapt allocation
pipe inside the pipeline corridor. The pipe and fitting of cost code according to value stream mapping to
ends are subject to surface preparation (leveling) prior to evaluate the cost reduction comparing between current
commence with first layer of welding. Welding crew state and future state. The difference between two times
consists of two welders and one helper using two fuel is the waste. The waste for each activity is divided into
operated welding machines mounted on wheels. The two types as shown in Fig. 2:
welding crew started with route; pass and last with cap 100% Total Process Time
welding. Every welder who made a joint has a unique
identifying number. The numbers are marked on the area Necessary Non-value-added
Time (NNVAT)
adjacent to the pipe, so complete records of the welding
are maintained. On the average, the required duration to activity
complete the welding of each joint is 20 hrs working
continuously. After welding, the joint will be ready for Obvious waste Time (NVA)
non-destructive test (NDT). Normally, the two
technicians are hired from Third Party Company to
perform the test. The test duration is 80 minutes and the
result will be available after 3 hours. Prior to commence Value added activity Value Added Time (VAT)
with hydro-test of the pipeline, the partial backfilling of
the pipeline network shall be completed with assist of
three helpers, one supervisor and two operators. The Figure 2. Wastes classification in construction
joints shall be exposed to observe the existing of the leak

Next is hydro-testing according to project specification, Hidden waste: Work that does not add value to the
the test duration is 24 hours and two hours for test product but which may be required under to complete the
preparation. One supervisor and three pipe fitters are product; such as change-over, movement without product
required to perform the test. After the test, three painters and transportation

applied paint for exposed joints prior to proceed with Obvious waste: Activities that do not add value to the
final backfilling. The total required duration to apply product and are not required to complete the product;
paint and curing is 24 hours. The last stage is final such as scrap, rework, inventory and waiting

backfilling of pipeline network which was carried out in To explicit in detail, the below Table II illustrates the
type of wastes were generated during construction:
Waste Example
Pipe fabrication is produced at a level higher than the owner required. This leads to
waste and an increase in inventory and waiting time

Waiting Work will be delayed due to broken equipment, bad weather

Unnecessary movement of information, products or components from one place to

Following the process accurately to eliminate potential costs in installation or
Extra Processing

Unused products wait for further processing. Poor planning will increase cost of the
Inventory worksite and occupy valuable
warehouse space

Poor material layout will produce unnecessary movements by workers on the work

Defects Defective materials and damaged machines can lead to rework and increase costs

B. Current State of Value Stream Mapping pipelines was mapped in detail, which includes flows of
After carefully collecting the production information, information and material. The main purpose for any
the map of the current process was developed. Fig. 3 construction is to increase the value added (VA) in each
shows the current state of Value Stream Mapping. The stage, minimize the hidden waste and eliminate the
Value Stream for a typical construction of underground obvious waste with respect to the entire process time

© 2019 Int. J. Struct. Civ. Eng. Res. 71
International Journal of Structural and Civil Engineering Research Vol. 8, No. 1, February 2019
Thus, Non-Value Added (NVA) and Necessary Non- eliminate the NVA and reduce the NNVA as much as
Value Added (NNVA) must be identified to be able to possible

OWNER PROJECT MANAGER Project Duration 25 months
Scope is 36.5 Km
Follow up
2 4 5
6 3 4 3 4 3
Pipe & Fittings Partial Hydro-testing Final
Trench Fit-up Welding NDT Painting
laying Backfilling Backfilling
V/A : 133 m in. V/A : 98 m in. V/A : 90 m in. V/A : 510 m in. V/A : 0 m in. V/A : 48 m in. V/A : 121 m in. V/A : 114 m in. V/A : 478 m in

P/T : 193 m in. P/T : 130 m in. P/T : 128 m in. P/T : 600 m in. P/T : 120 m in. P/T : 48 m in. P/T : 1561 m in. P/T : 834 m in. P/T : 601 m in

Pr. rate: 2 pipes Pr. rate: 2 pipes Pr. rate: 1 joint Pr. rate: 1 joint Pr. rate: 5 joints Pr. rate: 1 pipe Pr. rate: 6 pipes Pr. rate: 1 joint Pr. rate: 1 pipe + joint
P.Eff.: 68.9 % P.Eff.: 75.3 % P.Eff.: 70.3 % P.Eff.: 85 % P.Eff.: 100 % P.Eff.: 8 % P.Eff.: 13.7 % P.Eff.: 79.5%
133 98 90 510 48 121 114 478 V.A.T = 1592 min

60 780 32 38 90 3000 120 200 N.V.A.T = 6953 min

90 80 80 1440 720 123

Figure 3 - Current state of VSM for construction of underground pipeline*
As shown in the above Fig. 3, it is noted that the total Weekly cost of VSM is listed in detail in Table 2. The
duration time of the selected case is 8,545 minutes, but total cost is $ 19,477 (Table 2) which will be compared
the value-added time is 1,592 minutes (18.6%) and non- with a cost of future state Value Stream Mapping later to
value-added time is 6,953 minutes (81.4%). investigate and evaluate the difference between these two

C. Takt Time
In construction, the concept of takt time is different TABLE II. COST OF CURRENT STATE ACTIVITIES OF VSM
than the manufacturing environment, takt time for the
Current State of VSM Total Cost ($)
construction will indicate the time in which one pipe joint Trench Excavation 3,202
should be completed according to contract base line Pipe & fittings laying 1,861
schedule. In this research, the project scope is to Fit-up 1,005
complete around 3,400 joints of underground pipeline. Welding 1,841
NDT 370
The project duration is 25 months. Consequently, the takt Partial Backfilling 2,034
time can be calculated accordingly. Hydro-testing 1,279
Painting 962
𝑨𝒗𝒂𝒊𝒍𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆 𝒑𝒆𝒓 𝒅𝒂𝒚
𝐓𝐚𝐤𝐭 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 = Final Backfilling 2,423
𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒅𝒖𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒕𝒚 𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒆 𝒑𝒆𝒓 𝒅𝒂𝒚 Monthly Employees 4,500
𝟔𝟎𝟎 𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒖𝒕𝒆𝒔 Total 19,477
= = 120 minutes

𝟓 E. Suggested Improvement and Future State of Value
The cycle time for all entire construction activities is Stream Mapping
higher than the takt time. Waiting, waste times and idle The following suggested improvements were
manpower are expecting and must be eliminated or developed according to the construction status in
reduced. Thus, the construction activities have to be guidance with the implementation of the modified basic
synchronized to achieve the rhythm of takt time and concept of Value Stream Mapping

complete within contract duration. 1. Pull system and synchronize first-in/first-out flow
To expedite the process, every day, an excavation team
D. Cost Based Current State of VSM: was assigned to start with excavation activity in advance
The value stream cost is basically calculated weekly which would provide enough time for the next activity to
and takes into account of all costs in the VSM. The VSM start earlier. Moreover, it was proposed to introduce a
cost involves the following: (1) Employees cost: is the continuous flow and develop an open work front by
basic salary including the employee benefit, (2) eliminating the partial backfilling activity. The agreement
production supports cost: expenses not directly between the main contractor and consultant was
associated with construction activities such as design, developed to proceed with painting and coating after
engineering, and procurement , (3) construction completion of NDT (Non-destructive test). Then, the
equipment cost, (4) construction material cost, (5) pipeline will be backfilled finally to be ready for final
facilities and maintenance cost: cost is required to keep testing

equipment or machine in good working condition and (6) 2. Restructure the sequence of the construction
any relevant cost. activities (fit-up and welding activities)
All costs related to VSM are considered as a direct Welding activity has high cycle time, therefore and in
cost. Any cost outside the Value Stream Mapping is not coordination with the engineering team, a Weld Map
included in the costing of Value Stream Mapping. Drawing was initiated. Technically, welding map is an
© 2019 Int. J. Struct. Civ. Eng. Res. 72
International Journal of Structural and Civil Engineering Research Vol. 8, No. 1, February 2019
isometric drawing that shows the location for all pipe According to project baseline schedule, the takt time was
joints in the project. Fig. 4 shows the sample of welded schedule to produce 5 joints per day to meet the project
spools in the fabrication shop. completion date

This was suggested to apply the concept of
Supermarket Pull system and to ensure a continuous flow

This can be achieved by batch of Kanban (It is a Japanese
term that gives authorization and instructions for the
production or withdrawal conveyance of items in a pull
system) by preparing a minimum of 5 completed welded
joints for NDT test and build a ready pipeline for hydro-
Figure 4. Sample of welded spools test according to site condition as shown in Fig. 5

4. Manpower leveling and LOB (Line of Balance):
The field engineering department in coordination with In this research and according to LOB technique, the
construction field would study and investigate thoroughly resource leveling was developed to synchronize the
in detail each joint and specify the joint status with manpower and fulfill the project on time in concurrence
respect to field weld or manufacturer joint weld named as with VSM tool. LOB is vertical axis plots cumulative
spools. progress of number of joints completed in the project and
3. Pacemaker/supermarket and leveling between the horizontal axis plots time and sloping lines represent rate
construction activities of production i.e. number of joints per day
The concept of Supermarket Pull System between
welding process and NDT process was introduced. F. Cost Based Future State of VSM
Basically, the supermarket pull system is a controlled The suggestion improvements were applied to
inventory of joints that is subject to testing schedule in formulate the future state of Value Stream Mapping, and
due course according to site situation. Therefore, the the cost of future state was calculated and summarized in
joints were accumulated to perform NDT test in one shot. Table III for a week period as previously implemented in
Moreover, the NDT was schedule to be during the night
the current state

to perform more tests without any interruption

Supply loop loop
Figure 5. Supply and Pacemaker loops for Future State VSM
Future State of VSM Total Cost ($)
Trench Excavation 2,535.2
Pipe & fittings laying 1,403.1
Welding and Fit-up 2128.1
NDT 370
Partial Backfilling
Hydro-testing 1,279
Painting 962
Final Backfilling 2,240.2
Monthly Employees 4,500
Total 15,417.6
© 2019 Int. J. Struct. Civ. Eng. Res. 73
International Journal of Structural and Civil Engineering Research Vol. 8, No. 1, February 2019
V. DISCUSSION OF RESULTS simulation for multiproduct manufacturing systems,”
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The following objectives were outlined after pp. 354–362, 2016

[2] A. C. V. Carvalho, A. D. Granja, and V. G. Silva, “A systematic
implementation of VSM in construction environment: literature review on integrative lean and sustainability synergies
- Work process standardization with assistance of over a building’s lifecycle,” Sustainability, vol. 9, no. 7, 1156,
continuous educating the site workers to eliminate 2017

the time wastes. [3] L. Chien-Liang and J. Chen-Huu, “Exploring interface problems
in Taiwan’S construction projects using structural equation
- Reduce the problem of waiting time between the modeling,” Sustainability, vol. 9, no. 5, p. 822, 2017

processes. [4] S. Dinesh, S. Nitin, and D. Pratik, “Application of value stream
- Expedite the construction activities by developing mapping (VSM) for lean and cycle time reduction in complex
the concept of supermarket- based supply and production environments: A case study,” Production Planning &
Control, vol. 28, no. 5, pp. 398-419, 2017

pacemaker loops. [5] W. Jeong, S. Chang, J. Son, and J. Yi, “BIM-integrated
- Through the proposed improvement, the total lead construction operation simulation for just-in-time production
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minutes), required manpower was reduced by [6] D. Lee, S. Kim, and S. Kim, “Development of hybrid model for
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[7] W. Shou, J. Wang, H. Y. Chong, and X. Wang, “Examining the
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[8] S. Wenchi, W. Jun, W. Peng, W. Xiangyu, and C. Heap-Yih

the design method of Value Stream Mapping (VSM) (2017). A cross-sector review on the use of Value Stream
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construction project focused on the installation of 55(13), [Online]

underground pipelines from the perspective of costs. Available:
More specifically, the cost implementation of the
proposed method enables to reduce the traditional cost
associated to this kind of project, compare its current and
future costs, and improve its productivity. Although
several papers addressed using VSM as a lean tool to
reduce waste and add value during the construction Dr. Murat Gunduz is a Professor at the
process, no detailed and unified VSM instructions exist Department of Civil and Architectural
concerning how to implement it in construction to Engineering at Qatar University. His area of
evaluate the improvements and calculate the cost expertise is Construction Engineering and
reduction. This paper tried to cover this gap. Management with interest in construction
productivity measurement and improvement,
construction health and safety, data collection and
REFERENCES analysis. He is an editorial board member of
[1] S. Alvandi, W. Li, M. Schönemann, S. Kara, and C. Herrmann, ASCE Journal of Management in Engineering since 2010

“Economic and environmental value stream map (E2VSM)
© 2019 Int. J. Struct. Civ. Eng. Res. 74

Pipelines process lead time could be potentially reduced by 30.7 % and cost reduction of 20.8 % between current and future states. Index Terms—Value Stream Mapping (VSM), Line of …

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is value stream mapping and how is it performed?

Value stream mapping (sometimes called VSM) is a lean manufacturing technique to analyze, design, and manage the flow of materials and information required to bring a product to a customer. Also known as "material and information-flow mapping", it uses a system of standard symbols to depict various work streams and information flows.

How to create a value stream map vsm?

Profitable Applications of Lean Value Stream Mapping

  1. Form a Team to Create the Lean Value Stream Map. Form a cross-functional team of high-level managers and supervisors from throughout your company. ...
  2. The Kaizen Kick-Off – VSM Planning. After you’ve formed your VSM team, your next step is to hold a three-day kaizen event (see Table 1).
  3. The Process Family – VSM Planning. ...
  4. Identifying Similarities. ...

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Which is value stream mapping software do you use?

eVSM Value Stream Mapping Software or VSM Software is the fastest way to capture, analyze, and improve the value stream. Value stream maps created in eVSM are visual and will quickly grab the attention of your audience. Application areas include lean manufacturing, lean production, lean supply networks, supply network design, lean processing, lean office, lean services, lean

How to do value stream mapping?

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) Terminology

  • Time (C/T) A synonym for “mean”: the sum of a set of values divided ...
  • Setup Time (S/T) This is the time taken to prepare for a step. ...
  • Uptime (%) This gives you an indication of how much time the systems or processes are in use. ...
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