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:
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.