A location based management system (LBMS) might not be something that is on your radar as a project planner or scheduler — but it likely will be soon. The concept has deep roots in the United States. The Empire State Building is one of the most well-known examples of using a LBMS, and its use is considered a key factor in the building’s rapid completion. While this method of tracking construction projects has been used since then — most notably by the US Navy — it has generally been overlooked by most commercial entities in favor of the activity-heavy method critical path method (CPM). These days, though, LBMS is gaining in popularity for a number of reasons.
What is A Location Based Management System?
An industry tool, LBMS focuses on planning, controlling and analyzing the activities of the workflow as each moves through designated locations. Its primary emphasis is on production efficiency as it tracks each crew’s tasks within that location.
As resources — work crews — flow throughout each of the locations, location based management system executes plans that are both repetitive and continuous for them. In addition, these resources complete specific work before they move to a different area. Utilizing this method allows for minimal interruption by other work crews within that same area.
Comparison of Critical Path Method (CPM) and location based management system (LBMS)
CPM and LBMS have similarities, such as both methods relying on a structure of work activities. Within LBMS, though, these activities can be readily combined into groups that are performed by the same type of crew. For example, the activity might be the installation of subflooring. The task would be the installation of subfloors across all the locations, such as buildings or floors within a single building. Using LBMS to combine these activities provides you with the flexibility you need to achieve maximum productivity by being able to effectively plan and organize the workflow of various crews as well as their rates of production.
LBMS relies heavily on breaking down the structure of locations effectively. Because this structure is hierarchical, each general level also includes more specific levels within it. One of the most common ways of doing this is by breaking down projects first by buildings, then by floors. Those floors can further be broken down into construction zones. These construction zones tend to be small so that each trade can be scheduled within its own zone. This allows, for example, drywall to be installed in one area without interruption while metal studs are placed in another.
How LBMS Helps Your Performance
Once durations — typically defined as the time a task is completed based on its production rates and quantities — are determined for each project, flowline diagrams provide an instant visualization of the progress of the project. Its effectiveness lies in the fact that you can see both a project overview as well as the progress of repeated activities within one diagram.
By manipulating LBMS software, you can eliminate any task interruptions or fill any locations without resources that compromise the production. This continuity can be addressed by adding extra crews to ensure that tasks are completed continuously, for example. This method of optimizing the schedule to meet the needs of the project allows you to increase production, minimize interruptions and potentially reduce the timeframe it takes to complete it.
Do you have experience using a LBMS? Let us know your thoughts on this software in the comments below.
Kenley, R., & Seppanen, O. (2010). Location-based management for construction: Planning, scheduling and control. London: Spon Press.
Lowe H. R., D’Onofrio F. M., Fisk M. D., & Seppa?nen, O. (n.d.). A Comparison of Location-Based Scheduling with Traditional Critical Path Method.