Tezel, Algan and Aziz, Zeeshan (2017) From Conventional to IT Based Visual Management: A Conceptual Discussion for Lean Construction. Journal of Information Technology in Construction (ITCon), 22. pp. 220-246. ISSN 1874-4753

Lean construction and construction automation are two of the important efforts to improve the performance of the construction industry. However, apart from a small number of scholarly articles and implementation prototypes, the lean and digital construction movements seem to be largely running independent of each other. This paper aims at exploring those connections between Visual Management (VM), a fundamental information management strategy in lean construction, and emerging technologies, demonstrating the synergy between the two concepts over potential implementation scenarios and establishing their conceptual connections in construction. Consequently, the hypothesis of the paper is there is a significant synergy between emerging technologies (construction automation) and visual/sensory information management strategies (Visual Management) in lean construction. The hypothesis is explored by (i) discussing how emerging technologies can support conventional VM tools and techniques and (ii) presenting a conceptual architecture to integrate emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things, Augmented Reality, context aware and mobile computing, the use of drones and quadcopters, auto identification (AutoID) systems and laser scanning, to support lean construction and VM on construction sites. Futuristic scenarios for the implementation of the context-aware VM in application areas such as production control, production levelling, quality control, project planning and control, plant maintenance and safety control are examined from a lean construction perspective, alongside the presentation of a higher-level implementation architecture to integrate various VM and emerging technology components to support the implementation in a holistic picture. The use of such scenario based approach was found useful in summarising the technology components, their interconnections and possible implementation areas in relation with VM. This paper demonstrates how the integration of conventional and IT based visual management approaches is within reach and holds the potential to enhance the construction and maintenance phase of complex, large-scale construction projects by reviewing the synergies between operational VM concepts and IT.

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