construction-1510561_1280A superintendent presenting at the LCI Congress this past October stated that they would like to implement productivity tracking into the Last Planner System. Conceptually that is not all that difficult, if the team is prepared to do some extra work planning and checking.

First, it is important to be clear why productivity tracking should be undertaken. The primary reason is to learn from the work so as to plan future work in better alignment with the intended flow of the project. Be careful not to turn this tracking into a compliance measure that produces non-Lean behaviors.

To track productivity, each trade will need be very clear on the anticipated man-days for each activity identified during the development of each of the phase plans (developed via the pull planning process but labeled phase plans and not pull plans). They will also need to be certain that all the phase planning captures all the work. In many cases that may mean that the trade foreman needs to be accompanied by their company’s cost estimator during the phase planning. The format in which the phase plan is kept will need to allow for the planned man-days to be recorded.

With the man-days allocated and recorded across phase activities, foremen can then further allocate the planned time across the more detailed activities they define for their weekly work plans, noting the planned man-days for each day on the weekly plan. Then daily the project can track actual productivity against planned productivity.

This would be a hefty amount or work. But as that superintendent no doubt realized, it would also yield a significant amount of daily learning that would let the team focus on increasing flow and reliably reducing batch size; as well as test proposed improvements.