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14th Edition 

May 2012

In This Issue
Feeling the Fuel Pinch
Kanbans - What They Are and How They Work
Lean Construction Facilitator Training


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 Grunau Book Cover
What People are Saying about
 Lean Construction -
One Company's Journey to Success 


"Ted Angelo has provided a must read book for those seriously wanting to implement Lean in the construction industry. It fills a gap in the industry on how contractors are implementing Lean. His style makes it easy to understand his company's Lean journey by sharing examples and challenges relevant to every contractor. This is not a book on theory or a business fable but a real life experience. Ted is not prescriptive in saying his way is the only way to implement Lean, instead he identifies key tools and approaches they use and any Lean champion should consider."
Dennis Sowards
President Quality Support Services, Inc and Lean consultant


"I've known Ted for years.  He's one of those roll-up-the-sleeves, in-the-trenches guys; and it shows. If you're someone who thinks, "Yeah, Lean sounds good on paper, but...", then you need to read "Lean Construction - One Company's Journey to Success."


Jerry Stapleton

Author, From Vendor to Business Resource 


Available at: www.wcmfg.com


Feeling the Fuel Pinch


With the rising price of fuel, the need to control thisFuel Pump expense is becoming more important. What can we do to reduce this increased cost and eliminate all waste?
By Ted Angelo


We can drive more efficiently

Aggressive driving (i.e., speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.


Fuel Economy 


Remove excess weight

Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. The extra weight reduces your gas mileage. Consider the "80/20 rule" - if you only use a specialty tool or equipment 20% or less of the time, it may be more efficient to keep the item in a storage room and pick up when needed vs. carrying it around all year long. Only buy the material you need for the job so you don't carry too much excess inventory that you may rarely if ever use again.


Reduce idling

Idling gets zero miles per gallon and increases wear on the engine and maintenance cost. It also affects air quality. For every gallon of gasoline that is consumed, approximately 24 pounds of global warming pollution are released into the air (19 of which come from burning the fuel; the balance is from drilling, refining, and distributing). Studies have determined that it is more efficient to turn off the engine rather than idling for even one minute. Essentially, it takes about ten seconds worth of idling to use as much gasoline as it would to restart your vehicle.


Pre-plan our driving

Before going to various vendors to see if they have the part you need, call ahead to ensure the part is at the location you want and request they put it on will-call to save additional time when you get to the supply house.   If you have several stops to make, pre-plan your day so you make the least amount of trips back and forth.

Yes, you can eliminate waste and reduce the cost of fuel by planning ahead.

Now Available! 
What People are Saying about An Introduction to Lean Construction:
"Larry Rubrich's book provides a great overview of Lean Construction--a comprehensive presentation of broad concepts and specific tools."
Klaus Lemke
Vice President, Milwaukee Operations
Miron Construction Co., Inc.
"I liked it!" Good mix of Lean philosophy and practical Lean content. It hits the mark for a 101 manual for Lean Construction."
Todd Henderson, AIA
Senior Associate, Boulder Associates, Inc.
Available at www.amazon.com or www.wcmfg.com 

Kanbans (kahn-bahns) - What They Are and How They Work

Kanbans are a part of "pull" project production. As a "waste" elimination tool their specific goal is to eliminate outages and shortages at the jobsite, shop, or office while reducing overall inventory levels.  


by Larry Rubrich 


Kanbans are signals which automate the replenishment of materials and supplies from internal shop suppliers to the jobsite, or external suppliers to the office, shop, or jobsite using "pull" production. The Kanban signal to replenish is sent from the "point of use" (i.e., jobsite) of the supplies or materials to the supplier to pull more materials as they are used. Kanbans place the control and responsibility for reordering the supplies and material on the individuals who will be using the materials.


The type of Kanban signal and the replenishment information contained in/on the signal must be worked out in advance between the customer and supplier. The type of signal used is only limited by one's imagination: fax, email, spot on the floor, empty container, empty truck trailer, internet, etc.


Kanbans reduce outages and shortages of materials and supplies which improves the work flow in the office and at the jobsite. Kanbans support "pull project production," continuous flow, and 5S since material is not shipped from the supplier until a signal to replenish material is received from the customer's office, shop, or jobsite. Kanbans support the 5S's since they help prevent jobsites lay down areas from getting jammed up with material which may have to be moved many times before installation.


An example of a faxable Kanban signal is shown below:



For this example, the person exposing the Kanban card is responsible for removing the signal from the card holder and faxing it back to the supplier. The amount of material in the Kanban is generally a one-time calculation based on customer usage and supplier lead-times for the material. If either one of these two change significantly, the amount in the Kanban must be recalculated. Using this approach, Kanbans will reduce overall stock inventory levels (a 30% reduction on average) while eliminating outages and shortages that create work flow stoppages.


Kanbans eliminate business waste by:

  • Reducing work stoppages due to material and supplies shortages and outages
  • Reducing raw material, work-in-process, and finished goods inventory
  • Eliminating overproduction
  • Reducing paperwork

 While improving: 

  • Work flow
  • Project lead-times
  • Business cash flow

Lean Construction Overview 

One-Day Training Session

Money-back guarantee!


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Your Date 


A recent session attendee, Chris Johnson, President of Piper Fire Protection said, "This class was a real life changer for me."  


View a description of this session here 



This Lean newsletter is the result of the collaboration of three organizations:
Grunau Company
Ted Angelo, Executive Vice President

Quality Support Services, Inc.
Dennis Sowards, President


WCM Associates LLC
Larry Rubrich, President


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  WCM Associates LLC, 2012. All rights reserved.
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