The “lean construction” business model is an operating process that construction companies use when they want to improve efficiency, profitability and completion dates. It has become increasingly popular these days because many contractors are starting to find that lean techniques can not only help them save time and money, but they can also help them sustain and grow their businesses.
Here are several factors that make lean practices an important addition to the construction industry.
The lean construction philosophy is based on the idea that waste reduction of any kind — including time, materials, and manpower — will improve the final outcome of any project. Thinking lean requires focus and dedication. It is achieved by advanced planning, defined goals and continual communication among everybody involved on the job. It is an ongoing process that will most likely change with the challenges of each job. A lean mindset involves improving the way work is done in all areas.
Lean-construction sites generally do not look like typical job sites. They are usually much more organized and work crews consist of fewer people using fewer tools. In addition, they are also safer because of the orderly work environments. Due to the positive work environment and increased efficiency, workers also make fewer mistakes and have fewer accidents because they are not frazzled or exhausted from working overtime.
Benefits of Lean Techniques
Some contractors may not realize just how much lean practices can help their companies succeed. What are a few of the most important potential benefits? Working lean can increase profits, productivity, customer satisfaction and product quality. It can also improve risk management, safety and help projects complete on schedule or ahead of time.
But what is the greatest benefit of running a lean construction site? Surprisingly, companies that have not implemented lean practices, usually think the answer is increased productivity and profitability; however, companies with lean construction experience have discovered the greatest benefit is that it helps them acquire more new and repeat business.
How to Encourage Lean Techniques on Jobs
Despite the advantages, many contractors still avoid lean techniques. What can project owners and project stakeholders do to convince construction general contractors and subcontractors to incorporate lean construction measures into their ventures? One of the best ways to integrate lean construction techniques on the job is to make sure key players — including CEOs, project superintendents, and general contractors — are on board with working lean. When leaders promote lean practices, other employees will most likely soon follow. For employees further down the chain of command, many companies have discovered the “lean” technique to involve employees is to have them evaluate their job and find ways to do it more efficiently.
Many contractors are finding that running a lean construction company can help distinguish them from their competitors. And, it is a method than can help them streamline their operations and reach their short- and long-term business goals.