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1st Edition   
The topics for this edition are:
  • Lean "Integrated Project Delivery"TM: The Results can be Much Better Than the Sum of the Parts
  • 5S at the Grunau Company - Lean in the Tool Room
Greetings Construction Professional!  
The goal of this newsletter is to provide construction organizations with the information they need to use Lean as the "system" by which they lead and manage their organization while developing World Class Construction processes.
This newsletter is the result of the collaboration of three organizations:
Grunau Company
Ted Angelo, Executive Vice President
Creative Project Services LLC
Mike Schopp, Project Management
WCM Associates LLC
Larry Rubrich, President
Please give us feedback with your thoughts and ideas for this newsletter!
Lean "Integrated Project Delivery"TM: The Results can be Much Better Than the Sum of the Parts
In Lean, the team solution will be the best solution
by Mike Schopp

Lean concepts used to improve manufacturing, service, and individual construction processes are now being applied to facility design and construction projects as a whole. These efforts have produced an alternative to traditional project management known as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD).  IPD challenges the idea that best results are obtained by independently sub-optimizing every project activity.


The American Institute of Architects defines IPD as a project delivery approach that integrates people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to optimize project results, increase value to the owner, reduce waste and maximize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication and construction. 


IPD enables early engagement of owners with design and construction firms. In-depth project details are known faster than when design and construction activities are performed in a traditional, multi-step, linear fashion. Any activity or cost that does not add value to the end user is considered a waste. 




A single, integrated contract is typically signed by the owner and all the major firms involved in the project. These 'relational contracts' allow each party to focus on achieving the project objectives rather than individual successes. Project cost targets are established using Target Value Analysis. Contingencies and risks are shared. Fees and profits are at risk. Cost savings are likewise shared at pre-determined percentages.

IPD uses a variety of tools including advanced planning methods, Building Information Modeling (BIM), and modular fabrication to achieve schedule and cost reductions. Multi-colored Post-ItTM Notes are frequently used to prioritize and schedule tasks on wall sized charts at a consolidated project office.

IPD methods have gained wider acceptance in Europe and Australia.  This concept has been successfully used in health care and similar commercial projects in the U.S. Projects for Sutter Health in Northern California are frequently used as examples of IPD implementations and benefits. Applications to industrial projects are increasing.


Successful IPD engagement begins with an owner strongly committed to this project delivery approach.  Design firms and construction contractors with IPD success stories are selected. Several example contracts are readily available to use as a starting point. A few law firms have personnel focusing on creating and executing integrated contracts.  Insurance companies are developing new products to serve the IPD market.


Projects can be completed more effectively by focusing on key objectives as an integrated team. Owner satisfaction can be improved by gathering valuable input from all participants early in the project lifecycle. In the next few issues, I will elaborate further on the key elements and benefits of Integrated Project Delivery.  Let us help you explore using the IPD approach on your next project.
5S at the Grunau Company -
 Lean in the Tool Room 
5S is a powerful Lean Construction tool that can improve safety, quality, and productivity throughout the organization - from the office to the jobsite
by Ted Angelo 

As we began our Lean Construction journey back in the early 2000's one of the first tools from our Lean Toolbox was the 5S process. Grunau's Lean mission is "To continually examine our processes to provide greater value to our customers without waste."


To assist in accomplishing our mission, the 5S tool follows a five-step process of Sorting, Straightening, Sweeping, Scheduling, and Sustaining to reduce waste. These principles have been applied universally within our tool room, shops, offices, vehicles and jobsites.

  1. Sort:  Divide necessary items from unnecessary, and remove items that are in the wrong place. Apply the 80% rule: if not used 80% of time, store it elsewhere.
  2. Straighten/Set In Order:  Organize items so there is "A place for everything and everything in its place". Use Visual Arrangement techniques, including labels, to reduce search time. Commonly used items should be close to the location where they will be used.
  3. Sweep/Shine:  Sweep the place visually, and physically clean the work area. Prevent accumulation of dirt and debris with innovative ideas. Return any stray items to their proper place as determined during straightening.
  4. Schedule/Standardize:  Establish a systematic method to maintain the condition accomplished in the first 3Ss. Create standard, documented instructions and work flow guides.
  5. Sustain:  Follow through with commitment to maintain the changes generated by 5S. Make the first 4Ss habit and part of the company's culture.


The first area to use the 5S tool was in our tool room. Having worked with the company for over thirty years acting as Project Engineer/ Project Manager on various projects around the country, I knew that supplying our tradesman with the proper tools at the right time was critical. The process, an example of which is shown below, needed improvement.


Tool Room Before


A team was assembled to develop and execute a plan to reduce the amount of time to fill a typical order by 50%. As is true with all the Lean tools, it is necessary to measure before and after changing a process if one is able to say with certainty that waste has been eliminated.


We counted the number of physical steps to fill the order based on the present location of all the tools. Approximately 525 steps. The team started looking at the items that are more frequently used and placed those items closer to the staging area for outgoing tools.


The team also looked at how tools were stored and decided to pattern the tool room after a supermarket with aisles and shelves. The aisles were then clearly marked with large overhead signs and tools on shelves were clearly identified. There were labels for everything; a place for everything and everything in its place. As a result of their efforts, the steps were reduced to 262.


The rule within the Grunau Company is: you should be able to locate in 30 seconds or less the item you are looking for. If not, we need to look at doing a better job of 5S. Think of the amount of time that is wasted as a result of looking for "whatever" at a jobsite, office, shops, wherever.


Without doubt, that first Lean 5S event in our tool room provided the impetus to move forward. When Grunau's President walked into the tool room, his reaction was "WOW"!  

Tool Room After

Yes, what a difference Sorting, Straightening, Sweeping, Standardizing, and most important, Sustaining can do in just a few days of contracted effort by a team of dedicated individuals all making valuable contributions.

Integrated Project Delivery is a Trademark of Westbrook Commercial Services

Last Planner is a Trademark of the Lean Construction Institute
Larry Rubrich
WCM Associates LLC
2010 WCM Associates
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