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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Automation in Construction, Volume 16, Issue 3, May 2007, Pages 323–335
Comprehending activity status is essential to successful project management. When construction workers report activity information, project managers understand activity progresses. This procedure forms information exchange and flow. However, the lack of up-to-date information still causes project problems (such as increasing unnecessary costs, making erroneous decisions and improper activity scheduling), and highlights the importance of on-site data collection. For improving this condition, this study integrates two managerial philosophies (“theory of constraints (TOC)” and lean construction) to propose a synchronization-based model. When this model was applied for a material management case study, asynchronous operations accompanied with unnecessary subprocesses were recognized as an influence on on-site information production and transmission. This study then applied synchronous operations based on worker cooperation to resolve these problems, and evaluated the efficiency obtained by the identified measurements. The proposed model offers not only a prototype of synchronous on-site data collection, but also a mechanism for activity performance improvement.
Comprehending activity and site status is essential to successful project management. Most construction companies require their staff to fill in various site reports including labor, equipment, material and progress reports. Project managers then use these reports to control activity progress and plan schedules. This procedure forms information exchange and flow. However, unauthentic on-site data collection not only causes a lack of proper information but also produces many problems, such as making erroneous decisions and increasing project costs . This issue highlights the important relationship between on-site data collection and information flow. Previously, besides recording activity details with pen and paper, most construction workers needed to complete site reports through manual operations and data transfer, such as using calculators to compute material usage and working hours . Project managers thus wasted time in waiting for and searching these completed reports while checking activities and schedules. Clearly, time-consuming paperwork is a constraint on information flow from on-site data collection to off-site data analysis, eventually becoming obsolete owing to the impossibility of just-in-time information exchange . Recently, integrating Information Technologies (IT) and computerized systems to increase efficiency for on-site data collection has been valued, and has become a basic component of project management . Automated data identification systems (including bar coding, optical character recognition (OCR), magnetic stripe (MS), and radio frequency (RF)) are common applications to assist construction workers in completing site reports , ,  and . For example, when scanning bar codes instead of handwriting data, construction workers can directly transfer material names and quantities into computerized material reports. Additionally, more and more construction companies have applied computer-based management information systems (MISs), rather than paper-based management, to analyze complex site information. The use of the Internet to accelerate information transmission and reduce communication barriers has led to the development of project-specific web sites . When construction workers connect to MISs to store activity details using the Internet and electronic devices (e.g., laptops and personal digital assistants (PDAs)), project managers immediately obtain integrated site reports. Numerous researchers have demonstrated that IT-based on-site data collection not only offers more working efficiency for construction workers but also delivers up-to-date information for project managers , , ,  and . Nonetheless, when construction workers perform IT-based on-site data collection, asynchronous operations (defined as two or more interdependent processes that are separately executed yet can be simultaneously executed) accompanied with unnecessary subprocesses (defined as executed subprocesses that require resource and offer no efficiency for activity results) remain to interrupt information flow and influence the downstream processes. For instance, during materials checking, construction workers use bar-code applications to report material details. When material statuses are changed, bar-code labels need to be updated to avoid incorrect information. Namely, incorrect bar-code labels lead to the asynchronous completion of checking materials and recording material details. Scanning incorrect bar-code labels seems to be an unnecessary subprocess. This study integrates two managerial philosophies (“theory of constraints (TOC)  and ” and lean construction  and ) to propose a synchronization-based model for the above issue. While a material management case study is examined, this model offers continuous directions and stages to improve the recognized asynchronous operations and unnecessary subprocesses. Besides evaluating the efficiency by several identified measurements, this study shows the improvements between asynchronous and synchronous operations (including cycle time, process and flow transparency, activity productivity and information interdependence), and confirms a prototype for synchronous on-site data collection. For widely achieving synchronous operations, a synchronous system based on this prototype is developed in a companion paper .
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
To provide just-in-time information for project management and participants, more and more construction companies apply IT-based applications to collect and deliver construction site data. However, when the interdependent processes of on-site data collection are combined into a flow, it is clear that asynchronous operations and unnecessary subprocesses exist in inhibiting information production and delivery. Thus, improving this problem is important for increasing on-site data collection performance. This study proposed a synchronization-based model for achieving the above purpose, and applied this model to a material management case study. While on-site material reports were executed, common conditions were that construction workers kept away from application devices and had unavailable hands for recording material details. As a result, asynchronously checking materials and filling in records influenced the following processes and information flow. This study then applied worker cooperation to synchronize these two subprocesses. Based on the efficiency improvement evaluated by the identified measurements, construction workers had less operation time, fewer working processes and enhanced activity productivity when completing on-site material reports through the synchronous operations. Consequently, this study represents a prototype of synchronous on-site data collection. Meantime, the proposed model can be applied in various project activity flows, e.g., cash flow, resource waste, labor requirements and operation machines, to improve performance.