Improving Productivity In Construction Workers

Submitted by: Matt Carpenter

Advisor: Dr. Tulio Sulbaran —  — (601) 266 6419

Date: 11/03/03


3.   Project Approach

      3.1 Method

Research will be the basis of the total quality management procedures that are going to be implemented.  This research will include books, journals, conference proceedings, kaizen methods, quality management programs and ISO procedures from companies.  Companies from all over the world have already implemented total quality management programs (Marler 1998).  These programs will be investigated and the successful techniques that have been used will be tailored to meet the needs of the construction industry.  The topics that will be investigated will be ones that have already been found to increase productivity.  Areas that have already been found to have an effect on productivity and will be further researched are teamwork, ISO certification, and clear communication   (Cheser 1998, Dissanayaka & Kumaraswamy 2000, Ghanbari-Parsa & Moatazed-Keivani 1999).  However, additional topics will also be researched.  While researching these principles constant thought and investigation will be given to the settings in which the successful practices were employed.  This awareness will act as a safeguard for the success of the procedure, as other procedures have failed in the past due to “the lack of procedural instruments for applying TQM to a new industry (Lahndt 1999).”


Once there is extensive knowledge of the practices mentioned above, the focus of the research will be directed to the construction industry itself.  Areas that need improvement and can be improved by using procedures from total quality management programs will be researched.  One specific area that needs improvement and could be used to improve productivity is the communication on the job site.  Communication has been found to be a crucial part of total quality management programs (Hayden & Lew 1992) and also has been proven to improve productivity on the jobsite (Udo-In Yand 1991).  Relationships like this one will be investigated in order to find procedures from total quality management practices that can be tailored to the construction industry. When the current procedures of quality management programs have been combined with the construction needs, experts in both of these areas will be consulted in order to make the procedures more applicable and effective. 


Knowledge of ISO certification, kaizen, and other TQM practices combined with the needs of construction companies will be merged to form a set of procedures that can be used to implement TQM methods in construction.  The set of procedures will take the practices or methods of TQM and fit them to the current needs of the construction industry.


Upon completing the procedures, a pilot test will be implemented for a short time to ensure that the real implementation runs smoothly.  Once the pilot test is finished, changes to the procedures will be made.  This pilot test will possibly give a glimpse of how the procedures affect the job.  Evaluations of the pilot test will be done in the same manner as the evaluations for the real application of the project will be done. 


Implementation of the procedures will take place in a real construction setting and situation.  The company that will implement these procedures will be Yates Construction.  The selected field of construction for the project to take place is concrete.  Concrete is an area in which productivity can be measured.  A minimum of three jobs will be selected to implement the procedures.  The procedures will be given to the project manager and superintendent/foreman that are in charge of the job.  It is up to the superintendent/foreman to read and implement the procedures on the job site.    


Measuring the level of productivity the job experienced while implementing the procedures will be how the project is evaluated.  As quoted by The Business Roundtable in ASC Proceedings by Udo-In Yand, “productivity can be defined a ratio of the output in units of products to the input resources (Udo-In Yand 1991).”   In this project the output of units will be the total amount produced while the input will be the total amount of labor hours.  In order to find productivity, the formula will look as follows (total amount produced)/(total amount of labor hours).  Now that there is a way to measure, next a benchmark will be created using past jobs that share similar characteristics.  This benchmark will be used to evaluate how the job that used the quality procedures actually performed.


3.2 Project Timeline 

Milestone                                                             Start Date      Deadline

1.Compile current TQM procedures                 11/14/03         11/28/03

2.Construction Needs/Tailoring Procedures   11/28/03         12/12/03

3.Meet with Experts/update Procedures          12/15/03         12/30/03

4.Pilot Test                                                           12/31/03         1/21/04

5.Create Benchmark                                          12/31/03         1/20/04

6.Evaluate Results from Pilot Test                    1/21/04           1/28/04

7.Update from Pilot test                                     1/29/04           2/12/04

8.Implement Procedures                                    2/16/03           3/22/04

9.Evaluate Results                                              3/23/04           4/6/04


3.3 Resource Required

The resources that will be needed for this project will be a computer.  Books on the issues and techniques on TQM, ISO, and kaizen will also be needed for research.  Actual total quality management programs from companies that are currently using these or similar methods.