Digital From the Beginning: Pull Planning the Walbridge Way

As construction companies adjust to new ways of working, the use of digital project management tools is growing. But the process of adopting these new technologies can be challenging — especially when teams are stressed and have limited time to learn the newest technology.

Walbridge, an Engineering News-Record “Top 50” U.S. construction company, had this very situation. To better encourage adoption, leading the change into pull planning, Walbridge invested in intuitive software for a data center project they were working on.

The team shared their journey, Digital From the Beginning: Pull Planning the Walbridge Way, during LCI Congress 2022. Below is a short recap of the presentation.

The Start

In 2018, Walbridge made a corporate commitment to using the Last Planner System® on all projects. They trained key superintendents, developed training guidelines, developed PPC tracking metrics, invested in collaboration boards (pictured below), and deployed these processes to all jobsites.

 

Evaluate & Revise

Then the Pandemic hit, which prompted the team to retool and reevaluate their processes. They determined that the boards presented the following challenges:

  • Logistics: Difficult to order, ship, and store the boards across the country
  • Board Size: Fills up the trailer wall quickly, blocks windows and hinders the use of other Big Room tools
  • Planning Limitations: Board size limits phasing. Difficult for multiple buildings.
  • Post Its: Falling due to AC getting shut down, ended up taping post its and taking pictures daily

 

The team decided these barriers could be resolved by introducing technology, specifically Hoylu, as pictured below.

 

Implementation & Success

Walbridge reviewed the use of Hoylu on the data center project highlighting the following success metrics:

  • $0 liquidated damages accrued
  • 3 weeks ahead during slab placement
  • All major construction milestones met

“The Hoylu system really helped with that day-to-day operation,” said Ryan O’Grady, Superintendent, Walbridge. “It was quick and simple. It’s just a great tool for us.”

Hoylu Workspace

Benefits

Visual Planning

  • See major milestones in the next 12 weeks
  • Look at detailed 4 week lookahead from Master Schedule
  • Drill down on current and following week
  • What needs to be done (1000-foot view)

Reporting

  • Chart & trends on tasks
  • PPC
  • Missed Commitments
  • Crew Sizes
  • WWP & Trade Stacking

Engagement

  • Contractor involvement increased with more visual aids (pictures, model, visual plans, etc.)
  • Easily import drawings or BIM (if applicable) and identify multiple layers of coordination where needed

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