Lean culture in industrialized housing a study of timber volume element prefabrication
Abstract: Industrialization and the use of timber have been put forward by means of its potential for increased efficiency in housing construction. Industrialized housing is related to learning from manufacturing, but the construction culture still has to be considered when development is discussed. There is room for further improvements in industrialized housing, especially related to culture. Most scientific work on industrialized housing is based on learning from the lean concept, which also has been argued to act as a catalyst for cultural change. Cultural change related to the lean concept is however a lacking area in construction research and specifically in industrialized housing. The aim of the thesis is thus to describe and understand how to approach a lean culture in industrialized housing. Based on a theoretical future state (from a lean culture perspective) and an empirical-based current state of Swedish industrialized Timber Volume Element (TVE) housing, this thesis evaluates the gap between the two statesand proposes strategies for change. The thesis is based on four appended papers and a cover paper, where papers and the cover paper have their theoretical basis in the lean concept and the construction culture. Empirical results are based on data gathered in a multiple case study and three focus group surveys with four Swedish industrialized (TVE) housing companies, a production questionnaire with workers at the TVE companies, and a single case study at one of the TVE companies. A survey comprising 64 potential customers was also used in the collection of empirical data. Results in the thesis show that industrialized TVE housing has similarities to manufacturing e.g. due to stable supplier relations, a single process owner and the repetitive factory production. However, it is found that the construction culture (based on norms of traditional, on-site and project-based construction) still influence the organizational culture of industrialized housing, e.g., lacking standardization of work and routines, lacking employee loyalty to settled strategies and a lack of top-management support and clear strategies. It is shown that a long-term influence and cultural change towards a lean culture in industrialized housing is achieved by: - Standardization of process - Managing unique projects in repetitive process - A top-down (performance focused) and bottom-up (person focused) change process - Small-step changes
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