Lean construction is all about minimizing waste—money, materials, time, and other resources—to deliver the best value to clients while maximizing your profits. Implementing lean construction best practices isn’t really a step-by-step process, though; it’s more of a philosophy that can take root in a construction company at every level.
In general, implementing lean construction is all about avoiding waste, operating efficiently at every stage and in every department, respecting your workforce, delivering the best for clients, and always improving. Obviously, these are respectable goals. They’ll help your company complete projects on time and on budget, and at top quality. And they’ll also increase employee satisfaction and reduce turnover, build your reputation, improve risk management, boost your profitability, and provide other benefits.
Here are some of the key ways to go about implementing lean construction mindsets and practices throughout your company.
How to Create a Culture of Lean Construction
- Review data thoroughly to identify and address inefficiencies in inventory, scheduling, transport, invoicing, quality assurance, and all other aspects of your business.
- Train employees on what implementing lean construction practices means and why it’s of benefit to everyone.
- Give workers the autonomy to solve problems, collaborate and coordinate, and bring suggestions to the attention of decision makers. Nobody knows a job better than the people actually doing it, and they’re the best positioned to identify inefficiencies and other hurdles to lean operations.
- Meet with clients early on to accurately assess their goals. Make decisions and plans based on these goals.
- Use pull planning to ensure coordination between different contractors and otherwise avoid unnecessary downtime caused by inefficient scheduling. Here’s some more information about the costs, causes, and prevention of wasteful downtime at the construction site.
- Invest in software, apps, and other technology that streamline and automate processes as much as possible.
- Focus on avoiding rework at every job site.
- Be flexible. Implementing lean construction is a continuously evolving process, and it takes some trial and error to hone the methods and systems that work best for your company and for different types and sizes of projects.