Lean construction principles represent a contemporary ideology aimed at increasing efficiency and productivity. This broad mindset has been adapted by forward-thinking companies whose ultimate goal is to increase profitability, and eliminate unnecessary elements of their construction process. Lean construction takes a high-level overview of any given construction project and involves studying the work of contractors, suppliers, architects and engineers, among many more. This article goes over the strategies and approaches your company will have to keep in mind to implement lean construction efficiencies, reduce waste and ultimately increase profitability.
When enacting lean construction principles, the main objective is to analyze and identify the value of a particular segment of the construction process. The goal for this ideology is to remove parts that are inefficient and eliminate them from the entire project. The first step begins with understanding the role of waste. Typical instances of waste in construction jobs and services include physical objects like defects, overproduced parts and excess materials. Waste however, can also be understood as excess time used to wait for materials or instructions, and underutilizing or misusing personnel. From the lean construction perspective, waste is regarded as anything that prevents the acceleration of a project. By studying and evaluating your construction process, you will be able to identify weak spots where waste can be reduced which will increase efficiency and save time and money.
Flexibility and Commitment
Adopting lean construction principles requires a greater sense of flexibility and openness as each job may be approached differently. Large scale jobs may entail more pre-construction planning and will take longer than smaller jobs or services. More importantly however, applying lean principles may take numerous trials and errors before your company can perfect the best plan that works for you. This line of thinking can drastically alter how your company operates and may take years of slow and incremental progress before you see results. Furthermore, companies must be willing to make changes that provide long-term growth and development while dealing with short-term consequences.
Evaluate Organizational Principles
To implement lean construction principles, a top-down approach is needed, and top executives and managers must be at the forefront of this movement. Because there is no specific guideline for its implementation, a few considerations must be kept in mind to successfully apply lean construction efficiencies. These include a dedication to improving and altering workflow and removing waste where it is present. Also, this approach puts pressure on managers and contractors to ensure they continue to remain efficient in ordering the appropriate amount of materials and having it delivered at the most optimal time. Most importantly however, a shift in the mindset of all employees is key, and recognizing that lean principles must be kept in mind throughout the course of any given project.
A Step in the Right Direction
The first step in implementing a lean construction ideology requires taking the time to communicate and collaborate with everyone involved and making sure everyone is on board. This shift in mindset includes honing in on efficiency and finding opportunities for improvement, rather than simply looking at productivity and end-results. If lean construction is implemented properly, increased efficiency turns into improved productivity, and most importantly boosts profitability.