Waste reduction through lean and agile thinking - the case of variation orders

13 Sep 2013

Purpose: This study establishes how waste minimisation arising from variation orders can be achieved through lean and agile thinking. Methodology: A literature review focused on exploring the definitions of lean and agile principles and their merits vis-?-vis the reduction of waste from variation orders. Closed-ended questions were presented to a purposive sample of registered project managers in South Africa. Statistical data were analysed using the SPSS package. Findings: The study identified that lean and agile managerial principles of waste reduction were compromised. Loopholes in applying lean principles included the ambiguous briefing of the scope of works and incomplete contractual documents before construction commenced on site. Hindrances in applying agile principles included slow decision and communication to incorporate variation orders into a schedule of works. Findings suggest that the adoption of lean and agile principles would reduce waste. Research limitations/implications: The convenience sample comprised registered project managers. A stratified sample including other professional competencies in the construction industry would possibly have generated more insight on the subject matter. Practical implications: The study increases the awareness of theoretical waste reduction principles that contribute to the prevention of variation orders and their optimum administration. Originality/value: The study explores lean and agile approaches which if adopted would reduce non-value adding activities and consequently the reduction of overall construction delivery costs.