University of Twente Student Theses


Creating high reliability crews within the asphalt sector : introducing the high reliability performance index

Perton, P.F. (2017) Creating high reliability crews within the asphalt sector : introducing the high reliability performance index.

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Abstract:A contractor who’s aim is to be a high reliability organization will also have to pay attention to transforming the construction activities and in particular construction teams into high reliability construction crews. A high reliability construction crew is a construction crew that is able by their process and procedures to construct a predictable and constant end product under different conditions, with the minimal cost and time effort. Bam Infra expressed to be a high reliability organization and struggled with the problems of how existing asphalt paving crews can be transformed into high reliability construction crews. The importance for construction organizations to be highly reliable has been addressed in several studies. These studies even define how to create and support HRO for a longer period. However, there seems to be a gap between the literature, describing the HRO as a whole, and how to implement the principles within construction crews. At the start of this research, the main research aim was to develop an ideal work method in order transform asphalt paving crews to HRCCs. By uniformity in working methods, asphalt paving crews would be able to work highly reliably. However, in the course of the research it became clear that the aim of the research is not sustainable. A model must be developed in which transformation occurs through voluntary cooperation, so that crews can be managed and maintained in the future. Therefore within this research a new model called High Reliability Performance Index (HRPI) is introduced and put to the test by introducing it to asphalt paving crews. The HRPI model gives the asphalt paving crews insight into their performance on similar projects. By presenting the differences in performance between asphalt paving crews, a discussion is started why some crews perform different and what possibilities there are to improve their performance. Within a workday, a construction crew has influence on their performance by means of the way machinery is used, the use of different construction tools and technics for their task, foreseeing problems in the task completion process and reacting accordingly, the collaboration within the team, the compliance of the completed product to the requirements of the client and lastly being able to comply with the project process. The Input for HRPI model is based on these factors, construction crews can only be high reliable in the factors they can actually influence. By reducing the differences in performance between asphalt paving crews, a discussion is started about why some asphalt paving crews perform differently from others and what opportunities there are to improve their performance. Within a work day, an asphalt paving crew will affect their performance throughout the way machines are used, use different building tools and techniques for their task, anticipate problems in the task resolution process and solve them accordingly, how the team works within the team, to what extent the completed product meets the requirements of the customer and finally able to meet and function within the project process. The Input for the HRPI model is based on these factors, as asphalt paving crews can only be highly reliable in the factors that they can actually influence. The concept of the HRPI model could be suitable for the entire construction industry. However, the concept of the HRPI model was tested by means of a case study within Bam Infra. The implementation of the HRPI model is therefore specifically developed for the asphalt paving crews of Bam Infra. On the basis of the differences in theory and observed work processes, five main categories of assessment features were developed that could be influenced by the asphalt paving crews. These five main categories are; Planning, Logistics, Processing, Compacting and Quality assurance, which consist of a total of 24 assessment features. The asphalt paving crews could score up to 5 points for each individual assessment feature. Every week, the three asphalt paving crews were observed and the data for the input of the HRPI model was collected. In order to make an objective analysis of the results of the three asphalt paving crews, an effort was made to only observe asphalt paving crews on projects with similar characteristics. The three selected asphalt paving crews for the case study were chosen on the basis of their current performance. Three on different level performing asphalt paving crews were observed, in order to see if the developed index could function with different performing asphalt paving crews. Based on the experience of the asphalt head executives; an asphalt paving crew that performed extremely well; an asphalt paving crew that performs average and can therefore be seen as normal; and an asphalt paving crew that performs low were selected. During the execution of the case study, it was concluded that the crews differences in performance was mostly based on; leadership of foreman, functioning of the team as a whole, motivation in executing of the workers job, anticipating in the work process, the use of techniques and the amount of machinery, and into what extend the requirements of the client were met. The HRPI model has received a great acceptance by the asphalt paving crews, due to the easy level of understanding and the concept of self-improvement in opposite from imposing work methods. The overall scores of the HRPI model per asphalt paving crews improved during the course of the case study. There were some downturns in the scores, mainly due to the greater complexity of the projects or due to inattention of the asphalt paving crew to some performance features. The model has shown to able to improve the performance of asphalt paving crews and that a transformation to high reliability construction crews is feasible. Not only has productivity of the crews improved, there are also fewer engine idle hours on the machinery (lost operation hours down cut with more than 50%), technology is better used (preventing possible mistakes in the task, and thus possible rework), improvement in task motivation and a reduction in overall production cost have occurred. The observed asphalt paving crews have shown to better function as a team through the insight into performance that was given to them by the HRPI model. The overall cohesion in the asphalt paving crew improved due to the more respectful comments colleagues made to each other, why, for example, certain scores on evaluation aspects deviated from other asphalt paving crews. There are broader opportunities for further implementation of this model, so that not only productivity increases, but also could lead to time and cost savings. Bam Infra can, when the trends are structural and continue, save a total of ≈€1.420.000,- on operating costs if seen over a year. After deducting the estimated investment costs (around € 100,000,-), BAM Infra still has the opportunity to save a generous €1.3 million on its operating costs. Yet, these savings will only occur when the HRPI model is applied in a systematically and constant way. The recommendation for Bam infra is to further implement the HRPI model in a systematically and constant way and to invest in the automatic data collection for input of the performance features. Bam Infra will also have to invest time and attention in the further developments towards being a HRO. The HRPI model fits well with the concept of HROs, where an HRO is more focused on improvements in an organization as a whole and the HRPI model looks more towards optimization within the constructive division of the organization. The HRPI model proved to be quite affective within the six weeks of implementation in the case study and could be a real addition for existing HROs working with production teams.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Construction Management and Engineering MSc (60337)
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