Lean Construction Banner

25th Edition 

August 2013

In This Issue
Last Planner is not Lean!
Eliminating Waste in Accounting and IT
Now Available:
Grunau Book Cover
Available at www.wcmfg.com

Also Available:

Available at: www.wcmfg.com
Lean Culture for the Construction Industry
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Lean Construction

Lean Products

Lean Training Schedule



Lean Project Scheduling Session
in Partnership with
South Suburban College

Public One-Day Training Session
Pull Planning Simulation

Date: September 12, 2013
Location: South Suburban College
                Oak Forest, IL Campus

Course Objectives: 

To help each participant develop a basic understanding of Lean Project Scheduling as a Lean Tool and an advanced Project Management/Leadership approach that:

  • Utilizes Lean to maximize owner/customer value and satisfaction through the elimination of the 8 types of construction waste on the jobsite 
  • Changes the paradigm of the current GC and subcontractor relationship
  • Uses high levels of 2-way communication, planning, and teamwork in its execution
  • Sees a project as a collaborative team activity between the GC/CM and the subcontractors
  • Maximizes the involvement, participation, commitment and ownership of all project team members
  • Uses Lean Construction continuous improvement (CI) activities as the method to improve the process for the organization and the next project  

For full session information, class agenda, and registration information, please click here.


 Last Planner™ is not Lean!


By Larry Rubrich


A controversial title for sure - but let me explain!


Recently, we received a phone call from a GC regarding obtaining our assistance in doing a "complete Lean Construction implementation."  Our paradigm of what a complete Lean implementation is led us to create a proposal that included:   

  • An organizational Lean Assessment - determining the position of the company's culture
  • Leadership Team Lean training - using Lean as a Business Operating System
  • Lean Construction training for the rest of the organization
  • Policy Deployment training - connecting the organization's goals with the Lean activities to achieve those goals
  • Value Stream Mapping

Unfortunately, this completely confused our potential client. After some discussion with the GC, and after we got "outside of our complete box," we discovered that what the GC was really looking for was Last Planner™/Project Scheduling training.


Beyond the embarrassment of confusing the client, there was the disappointing reinforcement of the belief that the construction industry (with few notable exceptions) thinks Lean is only a jobsite activity - Project Scheduling.


Lean is a Business Operating System designed to reduce project waste and improve the amount of value supplied to the owner. Lean as a system applies to construction from RFP to project delivery and payment.


Lean Construction is about eliminating organizational waste to improve the flow of construction information and material. A better, faster flow of both information and material means construction projects that have higher quality, higher productivity (working smarter not harder) and are delivered with more owner value and shorter project lead times.        


There are four components of a successful and sustainable Lean Construction implementation:

  • Lean Planning
  • Lean Concepts
  • Lean Tools
  • Lean Culture

These components are shown below:


4 Components of Lean  

Note in the chart above, Project Scheduling is just one of many powerful Lean Tools designed to eliminate an identified waste in construction processes and organizations.


Lean is a system. Each of the Lean Tools, including Project Scheduling, can be used individually and independently to eliminate construction waste and increase owner value. However, only when Lean is used as a system, implemented through the training, empowerment, and participation of the organization's entire workforce, can you maximize and sustain Lean's positive impact on your organization and its customers.



Last Planner™ is a registered trademark of the Lean Construction Institute.


Eliminating Waste in Accounting and IT



By Ted Angelo


All of Grunau's Accounting and IT personnel completed Value Stream Mapping (VSM) of their main processes to identify areas of waste and make improvements. The IT team and 4 Accounting teams started by reviewing process mapping that they created about 5 years ago, and then updated the VSMs with the changes they've made in the last 5 years. Time studies were completed to identify the amount of time spent on various procedures and then documented using the "sawtooth method" to show value vs. non-value added times. Below are a couple of the "time wastes" they have improved upon. 

  • The IT department discovered that setting up a new employee for computer use took 8 days, with about 7 days being sheer wasted time. By changing some of their actions, they were able to bring this down to an average 6 hours of value-added time.
  • Accounts Payable determined that over $8,000/year could be saved by paying all vendor bills from electronic invoices (email or fax) vs. hard-copy mailed invoices. The new process cuts down on processing delay times with a 60% savings per invoice. We are now receiving approximately 55% of our invoices electronically, with the hopes of increasing this percentage as more vendors see the value of using electronic invoicing.
  • Accounts Receivables is creating standard checklists for job billing requirements and changed their scanning process for electronic filing.
  • A simple change like repeating the Job or WO name and number to the person calling in for a PO eliminated time-consuming problems later when the PO and invoice are processed in our computer system. Purchasing also eliminated hand-written PO logs for several departments that can now access their logs on our common computer drive.
  • Payroll started to streamline their process when Grunau changed to a custom computer-based "Timesheet Application," which cut down on double data-entry and error-proofed the process. This change reduced weekly payroll processing time from 3 days to 1 days. 

The IT and Accounting teams have several action items that they will continue to work on based on their findings from the VSM process.  The teams expressed that the VSM activities reinforced the idea that we can do something different even if we've always done it a certain way. The team members' work shows how Grunau's culture has changed over the years, so we are constantly looking for ways to reduce waste.


Are you open to the endless possibilities of improving upon your everyday tasks?  

AGC Webinar:

Management By Values-
The First Step in Developing a Lean Construction Culture

Thursday, August 22, 2013 
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM EDT
Lean Construction provides the maximum benefit to organizations when it is implemented as the "system" by which the company operates its business. In construction, this system is defined from the RFP to the delivery of the project and receipt of payment. Successful and sustainable Lean Construction implementations require that the four components of Lean: 1) Lean Planning 2) Lean Concepts 3) Lean Tools 4) Lean Culture be implemented in parallel throughout the organization. This webinar will discuss and explain Management by Values as the first step in developing a Lean Cultural foundation throughout the organization. Actual company examples will be discussed. This foundation must be in place to support the implementation of the remaining Lean components.

Mark Federle
The McShane Chair in Construction Engineering and Management, Marquette University


Larry Rubrich
President, WCM Associates LLC


George Van Der Linden
Executive Vice President, Faith Technologies


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

Interactive Consulting
Gary Santorella, Owner
WCM Associates LLC
Larry Rubrich, President


Please give us one idea that could be made to improve our newsletter!  
This newsletter and its content is copyright of WCM Associates LLC. 
  WCM Associates LLC, 2013. All rights reserved.
Integrated Project Delivery is a registered trademark of Westbrook Commercial Services
Last Planner is a registered trademark of the Lean Construction Institute  
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