Back to Volume 3 | Winter 2018

Effective Supply Flow Control

Executive Summary

In a 2015 report sponsored by PPI, Professors Iris Tommelein and Glenn Ballard of the University of California, Berkeley, analyzed the underlying principles of the construction practice of Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) and provided a critique to its standard design, making a number of predictions. Fundamental in their critique is the operations policies and parameters that dictate the final behavior of a project production system when AWP is applied. They predicted undesirable consequences to the performance of Project Production Systems including, but not limited to, inventory growth, longer cycle times, lower labor utilization and higher costs.

Using an Operations Science framework, this paper reviews a capital project example that implemented AWP and uses this real-life project experience to validate each of the predictions previously made by Professors Tommelein and Ballard. This paper also introduces the technical approach that the owner operator adopted to address the project performance gaps created by AWP, which included the application of CONWIP control protocols for more effective control of supply of materials and permanent equipment to the point of installation.

Keywords: Advanced Work Packaging; Cycle Time, CONWIP, Inventory, Project Production Control, Supply Flow Control; Variability, WIP.

Author: 
Roberto J. Arbulu, Senior Vice President Technical Services, Strategic Project Solutions Inc., rarbulu@spsinc.net



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