Notable stories: For an acute care clinic, the lean contractor questioned the very need for a waiting room - since the patients had come with the expectation of immediate treatment. This waiting room space was reallocated to more and larger patient rooms. Or a childrens’ hospital which set up mock-up room for staff and parent groups to provide input into the final product. Projects which came in 20% under budget, delivery in 44 days instead of 8 months, windshield time went down to 20% instead of industry typical 50%.
At some point in the proceedings, my level of confidence in the predictability of the success increased, and I could tune into the finer calibrations of this lean approach. Most striking were the stories from the field. On one project with precisely orchestrated and integrated trade scheduling, the framing contractor was challenged with phase delivery in 4 day increments. The first attempt was delivered at the 11th hour, with lots of overtime. Then, the well-earned reputation of the industry for field innovations kicked in. The crew started to batch work, pre-assemble where possible, and standardize procedures. They not only surpassed expectations with a 2 day delivery, but a combination of pride of workmanship and internal QC has increased the overall quality.
|Ranee Davall - Young Electric |
Foreman on Powerhouse Project
command is flattened, where workers are empowered to say no, and challenged to align their work with the vision of the project, there is room for learning, appreciation for a job well done, and a camaraderie in the workplace. Lean is an approach which rewards thinking, caring and trust.
Americans have historically done well under pressure, risen to the occasion when pushed against the wall, and believed in the ability of every man and woman to stand proud and deliver. But the message this week was clear. We gotta wanna. It starts with a changed vision, a changed behavior, a willingness to engage, a shift in attitude. And then… lean is a process of continuous improvement, and what we are seeing today is just the first glimpse of vast paradigm shift in construction. Stay tuned…