Lean & 5S's in Construction #54
Lean in the Office - Shortening the closing cycle
A company implementing Lean, examined its month-end closing process as part of the lean office initiative as well. They went from 5 days to 2.5 days close. Following are some wastes they were able to identify and eliminate:
After analyzing the process step by step, they found they were producing reports they didn’t need. They were spending time collecting information for these reports that they never used.
Some reports were put into Excel and then formatted for journal entries, etc. IT modified the reports to come out already formatted, so they didn't have to spend time do manual formatting.
When they got everyone in the same room, they realized that different people were running the same reports – duplication of effort!
They went to a paperless process - all reports are now saved and stored directly on the network.
All of the month-end information and reports are in one central place.
The company reported this is not a contractor, but a mechanical contractor went through almost the same analysis and reduced its closing time from 10 days to 5 days and then to 3 days.
Lean & Purchasing equipment
“Spending money for equipment is always a challenge for contractors. Everyone wants top value for his or her investment.
“Typically contractors compare the cost of the equipment to the projected return. Considerations usually include the capacity and speed of the equipment — more is considered better — maintenance costs and warranties.”
Lean shops have other considerations when purchasing equipment. See this article about thinking Lean when purchasing equipment in the SNIPs January 2010 issue
Make it Visual
Most people learn best by what they see. A basic element of Lean is to make things visible. Make it easy to see when something is not normal so it can be corrected if needed. Simple pictures can be very useful. Consider this picture – it is easy to see something is not normal.
Here are some suggestions to consider:
- Post pictures of employees and their skills or the training classes they have received. One company offers a core set of Lean classes and about 10 advanced Lean classes. Each class is about one hour long. All employees can volunteer to take a class but must complete the core classes before taking advanced ones. Classes are offered on company time. On a wall they have a picture of each employee and a list of all classes they have completed. All employees from the president to the newest employee are pictured. Quarterly bonuses include an amount for the employee’s Lean progression level. These levels are based on Lean classes completed, and Lean events or tools applied. Posting the information shows how each employee is progressing.
- Display the metrics – show how the job, branch, division and company are doing in key performance metrics. Graphs should include the PPC for the job, on time delivery, % of job orders filled right & on time the first time, defective welds, customer satisfaction survey results and even cost of poor quality. Posting the measures helps employees see how the job/company is performing.
- Show the current corrective actions and their progress. Let employees see what is being addressed and how fast.
- Post pictures and simple diagrams showing what work is to be done. It maybe the process for filling out a material request, or the way to complete an expense report, run payroll or repair a tool.
An individual (name not posted) shared this insight into Lean leadership and standard work processes
“The plant I work for has been promoting Leader Standard Work almost religiously for the last year and it definitely has improved things. Now whenever a process (be it value add or support) does not work correctly, the first question asked by leadership is whether this is on someone’s standard work. This makes shop floor leadership much more accountable for success. Managers that are surprised to find out that pull systems and visuals are not working, have no excuse. The visuals are either part of their standard work, or should be.
“The first step is getting management to look for problems in the process. The harder second step is getting them to actually do something about the process. After you have leaders with standard work, gemba walks become really important as many of the leaders will need to understand how to make improvements based upon the visuals. This is a constant and ongoing battle.
“This is a slow thing to catch on and it definitely has to be driven from the top. It also has to be re-enforced constantly.”
Source: Feb 24, 2009 NWLEAN: Digest Number 2148
What others are saying about Lean
Listen to Ted Garrison interviewing Mike Sullivan, VP of Operations Excellence with the Weitz Company about Lean in construction.
You may be interested in attending one of these training seminars:
- Jan 28, 2010 - Lean Works in Construction – How it can work for you
– Phoenix, AZ, Sponsor: PIPE & 469 JAC, contact Cathy Mayeux at 480.966.0377 or CMayeux@pipetrust.org
- Feb. 11, 2010 - Lean Works in Construction – How it can work for you – Tucson, AZ Sponsor: PIPE & 469 JAC, contact Cathy Mayeux at 480.966.0377 or CMayeux@pipetrust.org
- Feb. 25, 2010 - Eliminating Treasure Hunts – Applying the 5S’s - Phoenix, AZ , Sponsor: PIPE & 469 JAC, contact Cathy Mayeux at 480.966.0377 or CMayeux@pipetrust.org
- March 4, 2010 - Eliminating Treasure Hunts – Applying the 5S’s – Tucson, AZ, Sponsor: PIPE & 469 JAC, contact Cathy Mayeux at 480.966.0377 or CMayeux@pipetrust.org
- March 10, 2009 – Lean works in Construction – sponsored by Mid Atlantic SMACNA Chapter. Contact them at (301) 446-0002 or email@example.com for details. Must be a SMACNA Member or affiliate to attend.
- March 25, 2010 - Job Planning that Really Works – The Last Planner not the First Planner system – Phoenix, AZ, Sponsor: PIPE & 469 JAC, contact Cathy Mayeux at 480.966.0377 or CMayeux@pipetrust.org
- April 8, 2010 - Job Planning that Really Works – The Last Planner not the First Planner system – Tucson, AZ, Sponsor: PIPE & 469 JAC, contact Cathy Mayeux at 480.966.0377 or CMayeux@pipetrust.org
- April 22, 2010 - Lean Applied to Service – Phoenix, AZ, Sponsor: PIPE & 469 JAC, contact Cathy Mayeux at 480.966.0377 or CMayeux@pipetrust.org
- May 6, 2010 - Lean Applied to Service – Tucson, AZ, Sponsor: PIPE & 469 JAC, contact Cathy Mayeux at 480.966.0377 or CMayeux@pipetrust.org
- May 20, 2010 - Getting to the Root Cause by Analysis not Luck - Phoenix, AZ, Sponsor: PIPE & 469 JAC, contact Cathy Mayeux at 480.966.0377 or CMayeux@pipetrust.org
Other Lean Events to Learn:
- January 27 - LCI Ohio Valley Chapter >> Chapter Kick-Off Meeting: Advantages of Lean Construction, - Cincinnati, OH Registration details
- February 4 – 5, 2010 - P2SL/LCI Conference for Healthcare Owners, (Berkeley CA)
- Attendees will learn about opportunities for implementing lean across the board both in healthcare operations and in facility development. Registration details
- February 11, 2010 - LCI DFW Chapter >> Chapter Lead-Up Meeting: Design and Construction Advantages of Lean Construction, Dallas, TX, In collaboration with Co-Promoter TEXO, LCI is hosting this free breakfast meeting featuring presenters who will explore how Lean Construction incorporates many new concepts of management, planning, and performance. Registration details
- February 18, 2010 - LCI Intro to Lean Construction >> One-Day Workshop, (Tempe, AZ) Sign up by Friday, February 5, 2010 to qualify for the Early Registration discount. Registration details
- February 25, 2010 - LCI DFW Chapter >> Chapter Formation Meeting: Forming the LCI Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter, (Dallas, TX). Although the meeting is free, please register ahead of time to help us plan enough food for all. Registration details
- March 11, 2010 - LCI DFW Chapter >> Chapter Formation Meeting: Pull-Planning the LCI DFW Chapter, (Dallas, TX) Experience Lean Construction in action as we use Pull-Planning, one facet of the Last Planner System - a common Lean Construction technique, to strategically plan the activities and events of a new LCI chapter. Although the meeting is free, please register ahead of time to help us plan enough food for all. Registration details
- March 16, 2010 – LCI-AZ Chapter meeting. Phoenix AZ. Details coming
A Quick Thought
“For your continuous improvement initiatives, tools such as kaizen, kanban, SMED, or 5S are necessary, but they are insufficient to achieve results. Saws cut wood, wrenches tighten bolts, and knives cut food, but carpenters build houses, mechanics fix machinery, and chefs prepare meals. It takes your people at their workstations, using the right tools, to make change happen in your organization to achieve the desired results that will be measurable in your company's financial performance. It's only through people that your problems can be identified, and then your people select the appropriate tools to use in deploying countermeasures to correct them.”
- Ralph Keller – President of Association for Manufacturing Excellence
For more information about Lean applications to construction and especially the 5S’s contact Dennis Sowards at his office at 480-835-1185 or his cell at 602-740-7271 or at his web site: www.YourQSS.com
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