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Eco-friendly Mulching Enhancing Road Safety and its Aesthetics through Value Engineering
Not only in Construction Phase of Road Projects, but even in Operation & Maintenance (O&M)
Phase also, there is a need to adopt Value Engineering approach in achieving Green objectives.
However many a times these aspects during O & M Phase are overlooked
Value Engineering Process needs to be practiced for maintaining the standards of Quality and
Reliability with reduced Costs in every phase of Activities for which Kaizen approach could be
Study was undertaken at 100 Km Road Project constructed on Build Operate Transfer (Annuity
Model) in Andhra Pradesh by Gammon India Limited. Untapped Mulching Technique in Road
Works was explored to convert one of the easily available nearby waste Materials (i.e. Paddy
grass) into Green Resource to enhance aesthetics of Highways besides improving Safety to
Commuters by virtue of better growth to Road Plantations and reduction in glaring effect
especially in Medians.
The Qualitative and Quantitative benefits attained using these approaches are:
Growth of plant : 3 times
Foliage Coverage : 2 times
Savings in water consumption : 52%
Reduction in Weed Growth : substantial
Thus, Eco-friendly Mulching Technology is aimed to preserve Natural Environment by going
Green apart from reducing costs by 10 12%.
Key Words: Mulching Kaizen Approach - Green Initiatives Cost Reduction
Bhavesh Kantilal Thakkar, PMP
Gammon India Limited
Value Engineering approach can be used to achieve one or more benefits like optimizing Project
Life Cycle Costs, saving time, Increasing Profits, Expanding Market Share, solving Problems
and/or using resources more effectively
Some of the approaches for Continual Improvement can be through various processes as listed
Innovation of methodology by rebuilding a new Technology
Continuous slow Improvements from the existing process
Reverse Engineering in the usage of alternate or similar materials for intended use;
Innovative Eco-friendly concept of Mulching never attempted in Gammon of its existence and also
found no records in either Internet or any records of its application elsewhere while developing
Road Works in India is used as Value Engineering concept to especially reduce the Cost of
Operation and Maintenance of Median Plantation on National Highways besides preserving
Environment using Kaizen Approach.
3.0 Fundamentals of Value Engineering
3.1 Value: It is defined as fair return or equivalent in Goods, Money or Services for
something exchanged. It can be commonly represented by the relationship as below:
Value Functions / Resources
Where Function is measured by the Performance requirement of the Customer in terms of
summation of its functionality, Performance and Quality of its Deliverables
Resources are measured in terms of summation Material, Labor, Price, Time etc. required to
accomplish the function in its Project Life Cycle.
3.2 Application of Value Engineering Concepts:
Value Engineering can improve Decision Making that leads to optimal expenditure of Owner
funds while meeting required function and Quality level. Hence, the timing of the application of
Value Engineering concepts is critical to determine the results of its benefits to the Project which
can be graphically represented as below:
Graph: 1 Pictorial representation of Value Engineering Benefits
The above graph clearly enunciates the following:
The Value Engineering benefits attained are very high when conceived during the Initial
Stages of Project Construction where the Cost to Change is very low.
In case of O & M Phase of Project Life Cycle, Cost to Change is not that significant but
potential savings continue to rise with the passage of time if pursued.
3.3 Tools and Techniques
The success of Value Engineering is due to the ability to identify the opportunities to remove
unnecessary costs while assuring the other factors as listed above.
The basic approach to improvement in Quality Parameters can not only be through Proprietary
approaches like ISO, principles recommended by Deming, Juran, Crosby and others but also
from Non Proprietary Approaches such as TQM, Six Sigma, FMEA, Voice of Customer, Cost of
Quality and also through Continual Improvement.
Tools for Continual Improvement are
3.3.1 Functional Analysis system Technique ( FAST ) Diagram:
The FAST model has a horizontal directional orientation described as the HOW-WHY dimension.
This dimension is described in this manner because HOW and WHY questions are asked to
structure the logic of the system's functions. Starting with a function, we ask HOW that function is
performed to develop a more specific approach. This line of questioning and thinking is read from
left to right. To abstract the problem to a higher level, we ask WHY that function is performed.
This line of logic is read from right to left.
Graph: 2 Pictorial representation of FAST Methodology
3.3.2 Creative Thinking:
The creativity thinking is adopted through various Group Creativity Techniques like Brainstorming,
Idea/Mind Mapping, Affinity Diagram, Nominal Group and Delphi Techniques on any process
execution or Improvement works.
3.3.2 Life Cycle Costing:
The sum of all recurring and one time (non-recurring) costs over the full life span or a specified
period of good, service, structure or system. It also includes Purchase Price, Installation Cost,
Operation Cost, Maintenance and upgrade costs, and remaining salvage value at the end of the
Ownership or its useful life.
3.3.3 Analytical Hierarchy Process (Weighing score technique):
It provides a comprehensive and rational framework for structuring a decision problem, for
representing and quantifying its elements, for relating those elements to overall goals, and for
evaluating alternative solutions.
3.3.4 Kaizen Costing:
Life cycle costing anticipates cost improvements during the Project Life Cycle well as recognizing the importance of the design stage. This is sometimes referred to as Kaizen costing. Kaizen costing, unlike Target Costing, is not accompanied by a set of techniques or procedures that are automatically applied to achieve cost reductions. Workers are given the responsibility of improving the processes and reducing costs.
Graph: 3 Relationships between Target Price, Profit and Cost
4.0 Project brief on Median Plantations
100 Km of 4 Lane divided carriageway was executed by Gammon Punj Lloyd JV in BOT
Annuity Model for National Highways Authority of India which achieved Commercial Operations in
Oct 2004. Presently, it is in ninth year of Operations and one of maintenance activities is to
Enhance Safety measures, prevent Weeds, improve aesthetics besides periodic Overlay works
and other routine Maintenance activities.
Approximately 57 Km of Total length of 100 Km is encompassed by Median Plantations on a 4-
lane divided Carriageway from Rajahmundry to Tuni on NH 16 in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
The quantitative details of the Project are tabulated as below:
Package Identification Plants in Nos Approx. length of corridor
1 Rajahmundry Expressway Ltd (Contract Package : AP 15)
12,024 21.75 Km
2 Andhra Expressway Limited (Contract Package : AP 16)
16,326 35.00 Km
Grand Total 56.75 Km
Table: 1 - Median Plantation details in the Project
4.1 Deliverables to Customer at any Point of time:
No Weed growth should be visible
Foliage of Plant should cover the entire median
Height of the Median Plants restricted to max 2.0m
4.2 Present Methodology of Execution
Conventional system of using Water tankers of 10KL Capacity are deployed daily (4 Nos) to
water the plants for the entire stretch which used to make 3 trips per day/ per tanker and regular
labor are deployed for cleaning the basin and removal of Weeds periodically, every 2-3 months to
ensure the deliverables as mentioned in the above paragraph.
5.0 Selection of Process Improvement Methodology:
Considering the balance Concession period of six years only, Process Improvement through
completely new innovation was out of reach. The activity being related to Environment Oriented,
Reverse Engineering cannot be implemented. The Project is already in Lean Management and
further optimization was not possible and therefore, the only option left out for process
Improvement was Kaizen Approach.
5.1 Method Approach;
Kaizen approach brings small improvements at a time and participation of team members is the
key element for its success.
Project Team was enthusiastic on change process and PM had a buy-in from team
Members and the Independent Engineer to undertake the Experiment;
Team was given the task of Brainstorming the Ideas for alternative and better
performance in terms of the Job requirements;
During Brainstorming Exercise, Drip Irrigation and Exploiting Mulching were identified and
Drip Irrigation was eliminated by using analytical hierarchy process and Mulching