Takt Planning in Lean Construction

Introduction

Takt (Time) Planning is a methodology to establish a flow of work and to reduce overall durations of repeated tasks. The German word “Takt” means “beat”. It is the duration after a crew moves to the next location to repeat their task.

Takt Planning was developed in the manufacturing (automotive) industry. But it can be applied in construction, too.

I visited a seminar for Takt Planning offered by the GLCI (German Lean Construction Institute). Using 3D printed toy parts we built a production hall (actually a BMW project in Brazil).

When we first built the hall without Takt Planning it took us the whole morning. After dividing it into areas and starting the next task after the shorter Takt we completed in a fraction of time.

Our toy project (almost) completed
A Train created from Wagons (tasks)
A Train created from Wagons (tasks)

Last Planner® System (LPS)

In Lean Construction an LPS is commonly used. It is a Planning Board where you place tasks at the intersections of location and time.

The Planning Board visualizes “What” is planned to be done “Where” and “When”. If your software supports workforce planning it also knows “Who” is scheduled for each task.

Takt Planning

In Takt Planning you create Trains by adding Wagons (i.e. tasks). Trains are a sequence of tasks that repeat at other locations. Our app “Site Cockpit” generates these trains on a click.

This not only saves user time. The algorithm also makes sure that both space and workforce are available.

Trains can also be generated in Pull mode. This is a Lean Principle meaning that from a certain milestone you plan backwards in time.

With Takt Planning you define a flow of work and resources. If not disrupted it ensures optimal utilization of space and resources.

Trains generated at other locations
Trains generated at other locations

Durations Must Be Equal

If the wagons have different durations then gaps are generated between the tasks because either the space at the next location is not free or the crew hasn’t finished its previous task. The more additional locations the bigger the gaps become.

Therefore it is mandatory for Takt Planning to adjust the productivity of tasks until they have equal durations. This can be achieved by changing manpower or equipment. You can also combine shorter tasks until their combined duration equals the Takt.

Saving Time

The shorter the Takt the shorter the overall duration. There is a simple formula to calculate this duration.

Duration = (tasks + locations - 1) * Takt-duration

If you have 3 tasks that last 1 day each at 4 locations then the duration is 6 days. If you divide each location into 4 areas you complete in 4.5 days. You save 25% time without increasing productivity.

Limitations

There are limits in minimizing locations. You need space for storing material and work space.

When you are working with concrete you need hardening time and props block from working. And there are non repeating tasks, too.

But for a majority of tasks Takt Planning is a great method for planning a flow of work and at the same time reducing duration.

Tip

Svenja Oprach, who was holding the Takt Planning seminar had consulted BMW in their project. She told us they were planning with 4 working days a week only. Friday was reserved for completing delayed tasks and to discuss potential improvements. The project was completed on time for the inauguration.