Barriers in the way of implementing lean construction in the UAE: potential solutions from the Swedish context

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Design and construction project management (MPDCM), MSc
Wajahat, Ali
Today, the construction industry has become highly competitive worldwide, demanding that organizations improve their efficiency by reducing waste, time & cost and maximizing production. Therefore, the companies are trying to change their working pattern by adapting new production philosophies, tools, and techniques. The lean construction production management approach has widely been used in many countries for design & construction production, and benefitted from this phenomenon. Research shows that lean implementation varies geographically; some countries started the lean journey a long time ago, while somewhere, it is at the initial or middle level of implementation. This study will investigate the lean implementation barriers in the UAE construction industry and view them with a Swedish lean lens to develop the potential solutions to identified barriers. It is not about tools and techniques that limit the lean implementation because they are present; it is about identifying barriers that hinder implementation. This study is based on a comprehensive literature and empirical study, in which the literature data has been collected from scientific articles, reports, and web pages. The literature captures the concept of lean, tools, and techniques used for lean implementation. It later more preciously captures the barriers in lean adaptation at the industry level in UAE. While the empirical part is based on semi-structured interviews with the lean practitioners from Sweden and the UAE, which cover the current stage of lean implementation at the industry level, barriers, and potential solutions to highlighted barriers. Research identifies nine different barriers to lean implementation, including nature of the industry, multiple stakeholders involvement, behavioral or cultural issue, financial issue, managerial issues, lean awareness or lean knowledge, communication issue, organizational issues, and type of contract. While the empirical studies highlight the countries' current standing on lean construction, they present the barriers that show synergy with the barriers highlighted in the literature, afterward presenting the possible potential solution to identified barriers. The research conclude that, industry needs to develop a standardized working framework, build long term relationships with stakeholders, initiate pilot activities or projects, develop in-house capacity for multiple facilities, initiate training and skill development, promote innovation & change culture, gender diversification within the industry, increase R&D, set KPIs for assessment of improvements, standard and transparent communication model, follow international standards, make long term contracts and develop strategic & trustworthy relationship. This study presents a layout for the organizations by viewing the barriers and how to overcome them in order to smooth and effective implementation of lean construction tools and techniques.
Barriers, UAE, Sweden, lean construction, potential solution
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