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The latest on lean construction

1/27/2017 at 4:33 pm by

Lean construction continues to gain traction. The lean movement makes perfect sense given one of the biggest challenges contractors face today is a shortage of labor.  Having your team work harder is no longer an option. They’re likely already stretched awfully thin. Getting rid of waste to improve efficiency, however—now that’s a different story.

Lean construction is all about trimming waste, especially when it comes to your team’s time. It’s also about questioning the status quo, making sure every single thing you do is creating value for your customers. If it’s not, out it goes.

The very nature of lean creates an environment where employees can proactively suggest ways to improve how things are done. Employees are more engaged and that means they’re more likely to stay with your company—another bonus in today’s competition for skilled workers.

So what’s the latest news on lean construction? Here are some interesting tidbits I’ve recently come across:

  • Lean projects are more likely to be completed ahead of schedule. Research conducted by Dodge Data and Analytics shows projects that employed multiple lean methods were three times more likely to be completed ahead of schedule and two times more likely to be completed under budget. Proof that lean construction is more than just talk.
  • Over half (57%) of contractors use lean construction principles. That’s according to the 2017 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook, conducted by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) and Sage. Lean construction is one of several innovative approaches contractors are currently using to address today’s opportunities and challenges.
  • Collaboration is key to creating a lean culture. That message came across loud in clear in the 2016 Construction Dive article, Lean and mean: How to maximize value and minimize waste with lean construction. Lean construction isn’t just an initiative you put into your yearly business plan. To be truly successful, lean principles need to be part of a collaborative company mindset with everyone on board.
  • Lean practitioners are talking about prefabrication and modularization. In fact, Turner Construction recently hosted an informative panel discussion on the topic. Industry experts on the panel shared their insights on how prefabrication and modularization can improve quality control, eliminate waste in effort and materials, improve efficiency with parallel processes, and reduce safety risks.

Of course, much more is happening with lean construction than what I’ve just listed. Contractors today are constantly challenging the old way of doing things and embracing new methods, new technology, and new thinking. Are you?

About the Author

Deb Carpenter-Beck is a writer and marketer with more than 25 years of experience in the construction and real estate industries. She often writes about technology and best practices and is passionate about helping contractors and real estate professionals achieve their business goals. You can follow her on Twitter @DebCBConstruct.

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