In recent years, Takt Production has received a lot of interest in the construction and we are seeing more and more implementations around the industry. Takt Production comes from the aeronautical industry and its purpose is to stabilize and maintain rhythm of production. The construction industry has needs and works differently than most industries. Whereas in the manufacturing, aeronautic, and communication industry, etc. the product goes through and is transformed through stations and processes, in the construction industry the product is fixed in place and it's the processes that move around the product. Understanding this is necessary to know how the construction industry can successfully implement Takt Production.

What is Takt Production?

Takt comes from the German language and it translates into “rhythm”. Speaking in musical terms, it is the space that exists between two notes. Takt Production is extremely useful in Lean Construction in terms of defining value, stabilizing the work rhythm, and standardizing processes. In the last 7 years there have been several studies and efforts to develop a methodology including the case of Takt Time Method (Frandson et al 2013) at the University of California, Berkeley and Takt Planning and Takt Control (Benninger and Doulhy et al 2017) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. They have demonstrated through the study and implementation the benefits that Takt Production brings.

Continuing with the music analogy. To obtain a good symphony the rhythm, elements such as space, instruments, musicians, and the musical piece, among others, are necessary. To implement a production model, we need four essential elements.

  1. The value, the product, and its objective need to know where value is generated.
  2. The space / Takt area. Breaking up the work into zones.
  3. The rhythm or Takt time. The time that each trade has to complete their work within the Takt area.
  4. Standardizing work to achieve flow and improved productivity.

Understanding this we can proceed to the integration of a model for Takt Production. Four stages are established for the implementation of the model. These processes are the same as those that exist in project management: 1) Initiating, 2) Planning and Integration, 3) Execution and Control and 4) Continuous Improvement (kaizen).

Initiating and Planning
In this stage the following aspects are defined:

  1. What is the objective of the project (define measurements and project objective) ?
  2. What generates value (deliveries, important milestones) ?
  3. Objectives and zone analysis
  4. Define work zones according to the dependencies of the tasks and constraints
  5. Define processes within each defined zones

Planning and Integration of the Model
The next stage in the model consists of integrating the teams in charge of the project to learn about the model. The processes that are carried out in this stage are the following:

  1. Integration of work teams. This will help create conversations that contribute to the development of the project objective.
  2. Define sequence of activities by area and project stages.
  3. Define cycle time
  4. Define the steps that each process requires
  5. Sequence of activities
  6. Standardize production process through workload balancing
  7. Create work packages that contain the sequence of work
  8. Define buffers, capacity, time, and inventory or backlog that allow the processes to be balanced according to the objective.
  9. Combine the work packages to obtain the cycle and work area that best suits the project
  10. Define the work plan and rhythmic sequences of the project

Execution and Control

During this stage, work proceeds as planned and decisions are made through continuous monitoring of production progress. In this stage, several components of the Last Planner System can be used including:

  1. Look ahead: review and propose the activities and packages that are coming in the following weeks. This will help to release restrictions and maintain workflow.
  2. Weekly planning: On a weekly basis, the work teams commit to the activities that will be carried out next week. Work packages are broken down in activities day by day of the week that is being programmed.
  3. What was done? Are we prepared? What is needed? These are the conversations that are desired to be implemented day by day in the coordination of teams. The goal is to align the work of all the different disciplines.

Continuous Improvement

This last part is essential for Lean Production because we need to learn from failures in order to improve. Some metrics can be the PPC, cause of non-compliance, variability, restrictions, necessary tasks, etc. With the improvement we will be able to see and improve the workload balances, rearrange the work program, and improve the effectiveness of the work performed on-site.

The Takt Production Model allows for the project production to be implemented through a systematic, rhythmic, and flexible production model for any construction project. With this model you can align the production flow with the project management objectives. This methodology can work on all construction projects, regardless of size and complexity.

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Andres Bustos Acevedo is a Lean Consultant. He is a co-founder of the LCI Mexico chapter and a professor at Tecnológico de Monterrey. He is the co-founder of Besser, a company dedicated to managing projects with lean strategy and implementation. He has been involved in over 40 lean construction projects.