LBC embraces a Lean management approach, and a culture that emphasizes collaboration, reliability of scheduling and delivery of the most value – from the client’s perspective – while consuming the fewest resources. Beginning with pre-construction and continuing nonstop throughout all phases of a project, Lean principles drive the efficient delivery of our services.
Lean culture emphasizes re-imagining and eliminating waste in all forms and creating predictable, reliable workflows. On projects that develop and maintain a Lean culture of continuous improvement, our project teams have experienced improvements in design team and trade contractor relationships, communication, scope definition, coordination, cost and schedule performance.
Some fundamental principles of Lean are:
- Define value from the customer’s perspective
- Understand the value stream of all steps in the process used to create the end product
- Reduce waste
- Ensure a smooth flow of value added activities
- Prefabricate and modularize building systems
- Utilize collaborative pull scheduling to provide each internal and external customer what they want, when they request it
- Seek perfection by committing to continual improvement in all areas of the process
LBC implements lean thinking to establish a clear definition of the owner’s needs, including scope and hand-off criteria of all trade specialists, and rigorous management of hand-offs between trade specialists. Based on a Master Schedule with key milestones, stakeholders develop the specific plan for each phase in a collaborative scheduling workshop. The object is to keep the team working on well defined deliverables at a reliable and predictable pace and to eliminate re-work and waiting.
LBC also uses 3D and 4D modeling as Lean tools; to model owner’s process flows and discover conflicts in design documents, shop drawings, and coordination drawings. We also model site logistics issues and the sequence of construction looking for ways to improve the flow of work by all parties.
Lean Construction Defined
LEAN CONSTRUCTION DEFINED
Lean thinking has been applied with much success in many industries and service-provider organization. Lean concepts can be applied to any recurring effort at work, home or play. The construction industry recognizes it needs much improvement to keep pace with the ever-growing complexity of the built environment, and to make progress toward the same efficiency gains other business sectors have achieved. Many believe Lean Construction is the way.
Lean Construction extends from the objectives of a Lean production system—maximize value and minimize waste—to specific techniques, and applies them in a new project delivery process.
Transforming Design and Construction: A Framework for Change
Construction industry studies have shown 50% or more of the effort required to deliver a built environment is non-value added effort, or waste in the eyes of the customer (CII, 2004). The effectiveness of a labor hour has not improved in the last 50 years, while other industries have seen significant advancements (Teicholz, 2004). Demographics and labor shifts have significantly reduced the construction industry’s labor availability, and the relative cost increases of the built environment are not satisfying the business needs of many of its customers.
Lean Construction is a respect- and relationship-oriented production management-based approach to project delivery—a new and transformational way to design and build capital facilities. Lean production management caused a revolution in manufacturing design, supply and assembly. Applied to the design, supply and construction of a capital facility, Lean changes the way work is done throughout the project-delivery process.
OPTIMIZE THE WHOLE PEOPLE
Removal of Waste
Generation of Value
Focus on Process & Flow
Lean Construction Defined
Lean Construction extends from the objectives of a Lean production system— maximize value and minimize waste—to specific techniques, and applies them in a new project delivery process. Therefore, Lean theory, principles and techniques, taken together, provide the foundation for a new form of project implementation. Building upon its roots in production management, Lean Construction produces significant improvements, particularly on complex, uncertain and quick projects.
Respect for People is the cornerstone of Lean thinking. People transform ideas and materials into final useful value. Respecting the contribution of each individual is necessary to tap this resource. In addition, 1) People are central to the success of Lean project delivery; and 2) The production management-based approach of Lean project delivery encourages all efforts to make transparent and then optimize all processes and flows within design and construction work.
Furthermore, by placing people at the center of Lean Construction, we are reminded to prioritize Respect for People and avoid generating the 8th waste, which can be summarized as “Unused/Underutilized Employee Talent/Creativity/Intellect/Skills/ Potential” (Bicheno and Holweg, 2009).
Lean thinking encourages a constant reflection to determine if every expenditure of resource is employed to generate value. The customer should determine and make transparent that value definition via the project’s Conditions of Satisfaction. to help guide the project team’s efforts. Thus, generating value should efficiently transform raw materials into final products or services, and that process should be done right the first time.
Lean thinking encourages practitioners to look for and remove waste. Waste is effort or resource utilization that does not create value. This waste is not always obvious and requires effort to identify and then remove. All waste cannot be removed but an effort to minimize all waste is encouraged.
Lean thinking suggests that standardizing process and leveling flow are the best ways to optimize a value stream. Standardized practices can be repeated consistently and become a starting point for continuous improvement. Leveling workflow helps minimize variation to allow consistent output and predictable results.
Lean thinking demands a mindset of continuous Improvement. Leaders must create an environment where experimentation is encouraged and small manageable failure is acceptable if the goal is to improve continuously. This atmosphere can drive innovation that will benefit the entire value stream through value creation.
Transforming Design and Construction: A Framework for Change
An overarching concept of Lean thinking is to optimize the whole. Value stream optimization encourages projects to look beyond the local and individual efforts and study the overall outcome to determine where value is added or waste is included in each step considering the value proposition. This concept is counterintuitive to those trained to specialize in one area and maximize that value. Traditional construction industry contracts force a siloed optimization for each individual firm to be successful. Lean thinking attempts to reverse that concept.
Project teams might also find it useful to customize the way they introduce/initially define changes in the application of Lean Construction based upon the composition of their audience.
• Requires actively engaged owner participation to continuously define the value proposition.
• Requires owner representatives to commit to making decisions, sharing the “why” with the partners, and fostering a fair, collaborative environment.
• Expects the owner to be an equally participative, accountable team member.
• Organizes all value-adding work in a value stream.
• Makes the work flow in accordance with the needs of the next customer.
• Pulls work from a provider whenever possible.
• Pursues perfection; that is, “What can we do to make today better than yesterday?”30 31
• Focuses on productivity and safety.
• Creates more productive trade partners because all constraints have been removed so they can complete work as planned. This minimizes their comebacks (that is, the need to demobilize and remobilize when work cannot be complete as planned), which negatively impacts productivity.
• Produces better safety results among trade partners because work can be completed as planned. When trade workers perform comeback work, they are potentially double- and triple-exposing themselves to unsafe work conditions.
People are at the center of Lean Construction. They collaborate within and across teams using foundational Lean principles with the goal of optimizing overall value.
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