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  • Eco-friendly Mulching Enhancing Road Safety and its Aesthetics through Value Engineering

    1.0 Abstract

    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

    successfully adopted.

    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

    Dy. Manager

    Gammon India Limited

  • 2.0 Introduction

    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;

    Lean Concepts

    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:

    Sl. No

    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