Work Process Measurement White Papers

Learn more about how productivity measurement and analysis can be used to improve the work process with significant bottom line results in the articles below.

  • Driving Down Construction Project Labor Cost
  • Industrial Construction Efficiency and Productivity
  • Competitive Advantage Through Continuous Outage Improvement
  • Construction Productivity Qualifications
  • An ENR Viewpoint, published in ENR magazine
  • Power Plant Construction Workforce Availability & Productivity

Driving Down Construction Project Labor Cost
Hans E. Picard, Sc.D., Pres/CEO P+A Innovators, Corp.

Systemic inefficiencies in industrial construction projects can no longer be overlooked in a competitive industry operating at low profit margins.  Major opportunity to improve construction productivity is available by gaining quantitative insight in the performance of the construction ‘production’ process.  Measurement of the efficiency of the construction work process during project execution provides metrics that differentiate non-value-added and wasted labor hours from productive activity.  Continuous statistical monitoring of workforce activity is a useful, complementary management tool to continuously improve construction productivity and drive down costs without affecting quality or safety.  Cases that demonstrate the importance of activity-based value analysis of the work process, and resulting significant cost savings are presented.

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Industrial Construction Efficiency and Productivity
Hans Picard, P+A Innovators, Corp., Cincinnati, Ohio

Presented at Second World Congress on Cost Engineering, Project Management & Quantity Surveying, Telus Convention Centre 06/26/00 | Calgary, AB, Canada ©2000 AACEI

Field analysis on hundreds of industrial construction projects shows opportunities to significantly raise productivity.  As an adjunct to conventional project control, the focus on managing the owner/contractor work process improves the work flow.  The use of performance-based contractor incentives provides continuous organizational learning and productivity improvement.  Estimate-independent construction work process measurement and analysis generates labor cost savings of proven 30% and greater on system-wide labor-intensive power company projects. 

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Competitive Advantage Through Continuous Outage Improvement
Hans Picard, P+A Innovators, Corp., Cincinnati, Ohio and C. Robert Seay, Jr., Tennessee Valley Authority, Fossil & Hydro Modifications, Nashville, TN. 

Continuous improvement of fossil power plant outages is resulting in important labor cost savings.  By focusing on the work process to improve construction labor productivity since 1993, TVA Fossil & Hydro Power produced 22 percent labor cost savings in fiscal 1995.  Further reduction of labor costs are expected from its system-wide strategy of incentive-based partnering with two major constructors.

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Construction Productivity Qualifications
Proceedings International Structural Engineering and Construction Conference (ISEC03), Sep.’05, Shunan, Japan; Hans E. Picard, Sc.D., President, P+A Innovators, Corp., Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

In construction, past project performance is not always a measure of future capability.  Today, constructors are challenged to push past many traditional boundaries to improve cost effectiveness.  An out-of-the-ordinary solution is direct, estimate-independent construction productivity measurement.  This paper shows how using an existing statistical technique of work sampling, productivity metrics are generated that can guide management efforts toward greater value fulfillment.  Benchmarking the productivity level and variation of the execution process provides key performance metrics of a constructor’s capability to produce projects cost-effectively.  Optimizing the effectiveness of construction process design for efficient execution shifts the focus from cost reduction and budgets to productivity levels a facility owner expects.  Construction owners would benefit by qualifying a constructor’s construction process to meet or exceed industry productivity benchmarks.

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An ENR Viewpoint, published in ENR magazine
By Hans Picard, ScD, MBA, Pres/CEO, P+A Innovators, Corp., Cincinnati, Ohio

Few working people accept Karl Marx's old saw that "productivity" means working longer and harder.  Still, much of the construction industry hesitates to endorse important ideas introduced at about the time of Marx's death.  In the 1880s in the U.S., Frederick W. Taylor urged finding ways to work "smarter."  More than a century later, the industry remains archaic in many of its practices, with too many construction officials suspicious about the value of measuring productivity on the jobsite.

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Paper for Power-Gen Conference, Orlando, Florida Dec. 2-4, 2008

As the skilled workforce is aging and retiring, industry and government efforts to recruit and train workers for construction careers are ongoing to meet the anticipated future demand. The demand for craft labor – current and future - can be lessened by closer scrutiny of the construction work process resulting in more productive use of labor resources. Two decades of field experience on labor-intensive power plant construction and maintenance projects proves that labor savings of 20 % to 25% are obtainable.

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