The Lean Jobsite Revolution


Over the last decades, Lean methodologies (also called Agile) sparked an operational revolution for Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Airlines and other billion-dollar industries. The approach has extensively reduced the waste of precious time & material resources and produced massive process improvements. The results for these industries are much greater efficiency, output value and profitability!


So, how are Lean principles applied to projects in the construction industry, and what are their benefits? Felipe Engineer-Manriquez, an award-winning Lean master practitioner who has trained countless construction teams globally illuminates us: “Lean Construction is radically focused on identifying where resources are lost and where processes can be upgraded. This constant flow of small and big incremental improvements leads to surpassing the competition by working first easier, then better, next, faster, and much safer.”


In a discussion, a Senior Project Manager in New York noted: “One of the most impactful ways to apply Lean Construction is on the jobsite because that’s where money is lost quickly if you’re not careful. A Lean Jobsite avoids wasted trade time, excess resources, and protects my margin and delivery schedule.”


SkillSignal’s management software and mobile apps can unlock the Lean Jobsite for you now. Working directly with Lean Construction experts, SkillSignal’s innovations obsessively roots out time & resource waste, upgrades jobsite processes and protects clients’ profit margins:

1. Automated compliance, auditing and inspection processes

2. Connected jobsite with instant collaboration on 1 single platform

3. 100% paperless site

4. Simplified daily field processes to save a significant portion of field staff’s time

5. Visual and intuitive task management on collaborative Kanban boards


THE LEAN JOBSITE

Introducing Lean or Agile principles on construction jobsites allows for an all-around improved work environment. The practices are also very useful as they help to break projects down into smaller tasks, which has several benefits.


Worker Safety

There have been numerous studies that correlate high incident rates with the design of the project. Between 1990 and 2003, 42% of injuries in the U.S. construction industry were related to decisions made during the design process.

Implementing Lean design practices can prevent safety hazards, improve construction safety and assist with risk management. By reducing waste and labor-intensive operations, Lean Construction is more efficient. This reduces the amount of time that workers will spend on a potentially dangerous jobsite - thus reducing risk and improving worker safety.


Lean Construction also enhances the organizational processes meaning that construction companies can better monitor and manage their construction sites. As such, they can mitigate accidents onsite and reduce any confusion or misunderstandings.


Compliance

Not only does Lean improve worker safety, but it also improves compliance. By using Lean practices, construction companies can lay everything out clearly. This way, they can make sure that they adhere to all safety regulations for the best possible safety management plan.


Lean practices generally comply with safety criteria as they result in less time spent on site. This cuts down the risk of potential accidents or fatalities.


Because Lean also focuses on delivering value, there is a great focus on customer requirements and expectations. Therefore, Lean Construction ensures that companies comply with these requirements better. This is often assisted by construction compliance software.


Communication

A break in the communication chain can result in many problems. These can include rework, delays, using too many or wasting resources, and even going over budget.


Lean principles emphasize communication and collaboration. So, with all team members working together in an integrated approach, there is less room for error.


Because of this emphasis on communication, workers feel more comfortable pointing out any potential issues or coming forward with their ideas and solutions. This helps to promote more efficient operations, as well as identify and solve problems faster.


It also ensures that everyone is working toward the same objectives. So not only does it enhance communication, but leads to better end-results as well.

Improved communication also lowers the risk of errors and decreases the need for rework. Most Lean Construction projects will have an effective platform in place to facilitate planning and real-time communication. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and knows their tasks and responsibilities. In addition, communicating well on-site helps site managers to track progress more accurately. This way, they can see where to focus their efforts to ensure that the project stays on schedule.


Profitability

By reducing waste and using fewer resources, construction companies using Lean principles can deliver greater value. In the construction industry, waste doesn’t always refer to physical waste from unused supplies and materials. It can also refer to inefficiencies that waste time, money, and resources.


So, by following Lean principles on jobsites, construction companies can optimize efficiency and reduce several different categories of waste. This ensures that they deliver value in the best, most cost- and time-effective way possible.


With a Lean framework, construction companies can better adapt to changes. If any requirements change during the project, they can quickly adjust and make sure that they meet the demand. With an app like SkillSignal, contractors can monitor the workforce continuously using the time tracking app and various reporting features. In many ways, Agile and Lean focus on delivering high value to the customer. So, by using these approaches in construction, companies can ensure that they meet all expectations and deliver quality results.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Lean is already used by a handful of construction companies that consistently perform better with resources and deliver on time.

During their annual congress, the Lean Construction Institute (U.S.) asked why people adopted Lean Construction practices? A word cloud emerged, showing that people valued Lean’s emphasis on efficiency, improvement, and teamwork. “Efficient”, “Improvement”, “Value”, “Flow”, “Collaboration”, “People” and even “Respect” emerged as the most significant insights. This word cloud shows that Lean is a valuable part of the construction industry.

Lean has a significant impact on the construction industry showing many benefits. Companies have an opportunity to start applying Lean practices on jobsites to stay ahead and better balance their projects’ increasing complexities.


SkillSignal is on a global mission to make the benefits of Lean Construction accessible to all construction jobsites with mobile innovation through safety software, access control systems, time tracking software, scheduling, and more. Because the Lean Jobsite makes Construction safer, more efficient and more profitable.


References:

https://www.build-review.com/how-lean-methodology-creates-more-productive-construction-firms/

https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/operations/our-insights/lean-construction#

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260228283_An_empirical_study_of_the_impact_of_lean_construction_techniques_on_sustainable_construction_in_the_UK

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/engineerfelipe_leanconstruction-respect-construction-activity-6730164587989225472-aP3C/

https://constructionblog.autodesk.com/lean-construction/

https://leanconstructionblog.com/Applying-Lean-Thinking-to-Improve-Safety-Performance-in-Construction.html


More Information:

Lean Construction Coach David MacNeel’s humorous video about Lean vs Traditional Construction: https://vimeo.com/52961759

The Lean Construction Institute is dedicated to promoting the Lean Framework

The Lean Construction Blog is an active place where great new content is posted frequently

11 Simple Steps to Launch Your Scrum in Construction Pilot by Felipe Engineer-Manriquez, a SkillSignal Advisor and National Lean Construction Director at McCarthy Building. He earned worldwide recognition for his trailblazing practice of Lean Construction, is an award-winning speaker, author and industry podcaster.



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