Discuss about the Continuous Improvement in Engineering.
Continuous improvement is also known as continual improvement. It is a method that is used by different non-governmental and governmental organization that is aimed at identifying opportunities which will help reduce time wastage and resource wastage (Ross, 2011). It is also used in the identification of various weakness and streamlining the activities and process within the organization. Kaizen first developed it for manufacturing and business but currently, is used by thousands of industries across the globe to identify savings opportunities (Podesta, 2012). Continual improvement can be viewed as either formal or informal series of guidelines. Most companies prefer using the formal approaches over the informal process (Ross, 2011). For instance, the integration of Kaizen and Kanban might allow continual improvement through foretelling of the workflow (Podesta, 2012). Continual improvement method entails four step which makes the cycle complete which include; identification of the opportunities in the process of workflow, planning on how to improve the current process, implementing the innovative ideas and finally, reviewing the changes that the innovation has created with the company of the organization involved.
Engineering and construction is a professional field that includes various disciplines such as planning, designing, building and infrastructure management (Podesta, 2012). The foundations involved in this case are as follow; the roads, tunnels, airports, bridges, facilities, railways roads, buildings, dams, utilities and other projects (Datamonitor, 2014). Construction engineering is a professional discipline that is ranked in the studies of the civil engineering. Based the construction engineering, there are other related subjects such as construction technology which specifically deals with the practical aspect of most manufacturing projects. The technicians, in this case, learn most of the civil engineering designing elements as well as project site management. At training level, civil engineering scholars concentrate mainly on work design, which frequently involves more analytical skills. Therefore, they acquire all the design expertise and knowledge necessary for their professional carriers (Datamonitor, 2014). It is, therefore, a requirement for them to take a multitude of challenging design and engineering sciences course to obtain four years accredited degree. Construction managers' education, on the other hand, is mainly focused on the construction procedures, costs, methods, personnel and schedules management (Datamonitor, 2014). The main reason for the above-mentioned information is to deliver the within the time allocated, objected budget and the quality desired. Contrary to designing engineering, construction engineering brings about a unique perspective of technical challenges solving processes. Therefore, scholars need to strongly understand mathematical and scientific concepts together with other skills such as critical and analytical thinking, human resource management, and time management and good communication skills.
Based on scientific findings, construction engineering is a discipline that deals with solving day to day problem that the society, the nation, and the world at large experiences. The discipline is mostly focused on the creation of infrastructures that meets the requirement of both the internal and external environment (Russell, 2015). For a student to qualify as a professional, he is required to understand the life cycle of different infrastructures. Based on the fore mentioned information, this research paper will discuss the engineering and construction domain, illustrate, and explain the continuous improvement plan for one case study regarding construction engineering.
Continual Improvement Plan
In the construction engineering, constant improvement plan can be done through identification of the possible problems that the construction industry might be facing analysis and come up with possible solutions (Russell, 2015). After which, implementation of the possible ideas is done, and the final step will involve the evaluation and the review of the implemented ideas. For instance, this paper will take construction management and engineering as a case study.
Identification of Factors Affecting the Engineering Construction Management
The main scope of the application of continual improvement of in this case is to identify the factors that lead to the little progress within the engineering business set up (McLaren, 2013). Despite the gross recovery of the construction market, many industries are still not able to be successful (Datamonitor, 2014). The margins are tighter than ever, and a lot of companies are trading million dollars. However, they don't get the success they desire. In this discussion, several challenges that most engineering construction companies face in today's world. The challenges are as mentioned below;
Money operation is significant to achieve success. It is therefore advocated that one should not underestimate the capital required to set up the most productive projects under capitalization may lead to low funds needed to pursue the objectives of the project (Smyth, 2010). Regularly, it is through this improper capitalization that leads to the bad decision-making process, the poor setting of the standard goals and objectives (Datamonitor, 2014). The management team as well as the human resource manager, together, will face a lot of challenges in employing the best-qualified worker for the engineering job due to lack of capital.
Insufficient Cash Flow
It is crystal clear that, after every day, week, or a month, each worker expects a large some of the money or at least the for the agreed upon salary (Oberg et al 2013). The companies with a lower salary for the employee usually experience lower productivity since the workers are slightly motivated. Inadequate cash flow will also lead to the loss of employees within the construction site since most individuals will start looking for another job that is well paying.
Lack of adequate planning is another factor that affects the activities of the engineering construction process. Most planning is done within without consideration of the financial status or without understanding the workforce required and the necessary skills and knowledge the worker must have (McHugh, 2013). There are various instances where most managers overestimate their capability of their cash flow while others underestimate their capabilities. In return it leads to poor decision- making process, poor goals setting, and other many disadvantages.
Inflexibility, in this case, refers to a scenario whereby the manager in the organization or a construction company is unable to change with the ongoing current affairs (McHugh, 2013). For instance, some organizations, many years ago were not willing to change their products processing activities by replacing the human labor with the advancing technology (McHugh, 2013). In our context, some people did not want to use the machine to make work easier during infrastructures constructions since their thought it would be expensive. In return, this act leads to the prosperity of other companies and left them behind (Oberg et al 2013). It is therefore recommended that the entire manager should work within their plans and be able to be flexible where necessary since the world keeps on changing, the market, and population growth as well change with time (Smyth, 2010). Working without planning in this case, might lead to poor productivity hence the construction project might not be able to be finished within the period required.
Most managers in the construction site do not know their workers very well. This challenge has been observed for years now. In return, workers feel despised and work at a very lower pace (McLaren, 2013). Moreover, the managers are also not able to know the capability of the employee on the ground, and when this happens, the company loses sight of the workers as well as the employer. If the growth rate is well controlled all the companies objectives will be met without any difficulties
Managers and the employees as well are responsible for the great achievement of the company's success. If the manager neglects his/ her role in the company very little production will be achieved, at the same time if the workers within the organization neglect their duties little production will be achieved (McHugh, 2013). Based on the problems addressed above, the continuous improvement method will asses them and develop the best option to handle the issues. For instance, in the case of cash flow, the construction company must mobilize enough resources that are best suits their budget and enough to pay all the salaries within the agreed time without any delay (Oberg et al 2013). The managers most also educate their employees to ensure that all the work required is done perfectly with the required knowledge and skills. Moreover, the manager should also find a way to maintain his/her relationship with the worker and appreciate their work by either through the provision of tokens or delegating their jobs to the subordinate staff.
The managers should also do research before they create the appropriate plan that will enable them to meet the goals of the project. More so, realistic goals and a set of targets must be configured to ensure that all the activities and the work standards have been made Hutchinson & Finnemore, 2014). Training of the human resource managers will also be necessary to make sure that the all the workers have the skills and knowledge required before they attain the job positions (Oberg et al 2013). The innovative designer will also be needed in the organization to enable the company to come up with new ideas which are viable for the better progress of the project.
After the best solutions have been selected, the solution should be implemented. For our case, implementation of internal training (staff) training is necessary, innovation of new ideas, empowerment of worker, a delegation of work, replacement of time waster as well as lower productive people should be implemented. The manager should also develop excellent communication skills necessary for the easier information passage to the lower level. Assessment of tool and procumbent of the resources required for the project will be needed to ensure that all the machine, supportive tools, and other devices are in good condition.
A continuous improvement is a tool that is used by various companies across the globe for the identification of a problem within the organization, evaluation, and analysis, implementation of the best-selected solution and evaluation of the implemented solution. In the discussion above, the continuous improvement method is used to solve a problem that the engineering construction companies face. The analysis has also provided a case study that was a discussion in details about the challenges faced by the construction management. Therefore, it is significant to have continuous improvement in our engineering construction sites.
A Select Bibliography for Teaching Continuous Improvement**in this bibliography, the term continuous improvement is used to encompass the concepts of continuous quality improvement (CQI) and total quality management (TQM) Viz. in the Health Professions,1996, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement, vol. 22, no. 3, pp.234-236.
Datamonitor, M 2014, Construction & Engineering in Canada (Engineering and Construction), 1st ed. London: Datamonitor.
Hutchinson, A & Finnemore, 2014, Standardized process improvement for construction enterprises, Total Quality Management, vol. 10, no. 4-5, pp.576-583.
McHugh, M 2013, Managing strategic change in public sector organizations: a Swedish example. Strategic Change, vol. 5, no. 5, pp.247-261.
McLaren, S 2013, Leading opinion and managing change in complex organizations: Findings from the South Thames Evidence-based Practice project, Journal of Research in Nursing, vol. 7, no. 6, pp.444-458
Oberg, E., Jones, F., Horton, H., Ryffel, H., McCauley, C & Amiss, J 2013, Machinery's handbook. 1st ed, Prentice Hall: New York
Podesta, T 2012, Picturing the emerging engineering construction research agenda: reflections on the Managing Engineering Construction special issue, Construction Management and Economics, vol. 30, no.8, pp.700-702
Ross, W 2011, Continuous improvement. 1st ed, Management Books 2000 Ltd: Cirencester
Russell, J 2015, Evaluating impact: Evaluation and continual improvement for performance improvement practitioners by Ingrid Guerra-Lopez, Performance Improvement, vol. 48, vol. 7, pp.42-45
Smyth, H 2010, Construction industry performance improvement programmes: the UK case of demonstration projects in the ‘Continuous Improvement’ programme, Construction Management and Economics, vol. 28, no. 3, pp.255-270