The Success of a Major Project through Focusing on the Customer

World Conference on Quality and Improvement vol. 48 - May 1994

Abstract: The science of project management is most effective when it is aligned with the concept of Total Quality Management (TQM). This paper presents the successful strategies implemented by Stone & Webster, Incorporated (S&W) as they designed and engineered the construction of a major petro-chemical plant for B.P. Chemicals.

In addition to identifying the long lead times, S&W met with the construction team to learn how they planned to comply with the overall project schedule as they built the plant. These design discussions required more effort in the design phase; however, these early decisions and agreements on small details reduced the potential for disagreements later and also led to cost savings. In an effort to reduce rework, performance measurements were linked to the amount of recycling required for designs. A "norm" was established for man-hours and costs, and any issues above the "norm" required workers to complete a "Rework Sheet" which stated the reason for any increased costs and associated man-hours.

Claims by construction contractors for extra work caused by engineering often run as high as 10 to 12 percent of the contract price; however, the claims by the four main construction contractors on this project were less than 2 percent. The major factors that contributed to the success of the project were the construction-driven engineering schedule and milestones that identified significant contributors.

Keywords: Case study - Construction industry - Total Quality Management (TQM) - Chemical and process industries - Project management - Engineering

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