Lean & 5S' in Construction #11 May 2006
***************** GM wants it Lean
At the SMWIA/SMACNA 2006 Partners in Progress Conference held this past March, Jack Hallman, Director, Manufacturing Construction Management Worldwide Facilities Group, Capital Projects for General Motors and Richard Cramer, Chairman of the Board for of Dee Cramer Inc. presented on a project done for GM using lean techniques. Part of the presentation included these points of interest:
GM is challenging the industry to develop, embrace and implement Lean Principles. GM will:
- Expect construction firms to be proactive in applying Lean Concepts
- Expect support organizations to lead “Best of the Best” concept identification and application to Lean Construction
- Expect a common approach to maximize owner benefits
- Expect near-term results from bid through implementation at the site
The project that they applied Lean came in with the following results:
- 15+% faster delivery for customer end-use (Winter Construction)
- Minimized multiple take-offs / re-input: elements created once and shared
- HVAC install 4 weeks ahead of schedule – no field rework
- Owner changes were less than 25% of typical Design/Build project
- Virtually no field overtime
- 0% change orders from interferences/coordination
Currently only a relatively few contractors have seriously embraced Lean as a way to run their business. As the larger customers start expecting the general and sub contractors to be Lean, more will naturally come on board.
***************** 5S Your Desk
Before doing 5S’s in the shop or field, consider a most fertile area to attack – your own desk. Do you and others waste time looking for files? Do you have to move stacks of material (books and documents) to find other documents? Does your desk look like a war zone? Maybe it’s time to start where you have the most control. Consider doing the following actions:
1. Sort out the needed from the ‘don’t really need but have keep it just in case’. Go through all that is on top and in your desk.
- Look at any stacks such as magazines, files, and documents. If it is stored horizontally what is really happening to the bottom of the stack? Probably nothing! How long has it been there? Do you really still need it? What about horizontal in-baskets? Some people are neater; they put their stacks in a drawer so it’s out of site. Sort the drawers too.
- What about the files on the desk, how many open files do you have out at any moment? Try to keep only one active file out on your desk.
- Get rid of all the files, material, and documents you don’t need. One engineering group, I worked with, got rid of many old files and documents they had been keeping for years. It nearly filled a dumpster.
- What about old chairs that no one in his/her right mind, would ever use?
- After you get rid of the files, you may not need all those file cabinets!
- Are outdated or torn announcements removed from cubicle walls?
2. Simplify by designating a place for everything you decided to keep. If it is hard to figure where to put something, then, maybe you don’t need it? If it is a reference book or binder that you seldom use, maybe it can go into a common or shared area.
- Label everything so it is easy to find.
- For items, documents or files that you use often (daily) place them close to your reach.
- Use vertical file racks to store files.
- Develop the habit of going through your in-basket and handling items only once. Put it where it goes.
- Make sure to label your in-basket as such and encourage everyone to use it so documents don’t get misplaced.
- Is your office labeled as to occupant and title, and is there a way to tell if you are "IN" or "OUT" of the office? How much time is spent in offices looking and waiting for someone who really isn’t in that day?
- Make sure that electrical, phone & computer cords are out of the way (to avoid tripping) and not tangled.
- Label binders consistently on the outside edge and determine a fixed storage location.
3. Sweeping is also important in the office.
- Make sure your desk and work area are clean of trash and debris.
- Do you have a system for keeping your desk and work area dust free?
- Are light fixtures dusted regularly?
- Are the tops of cabinets and files free of items or if not, are the items appropriate and organized?
4. Standardize your desk too.
- Develop a method to know if a binder, book or file is out of place or missing. Make sure you have a checkout procedure so you know where your books or files went.
- Use a Kanban system for consumables such as pads of paper, staples, pens, etc. Keep one out that you are using and one in storage. When you run out (usually right in the middle of an important call) start using the 2nd one. Use the empty pen or cardboard back of the pad of paper as your signal to replace the reserve.
5. Use Self-discipline to maintain the gain you have made. If, at the end of the day or week, you find lots of stacks or clutter, then analyze how it happens, and change or start a system of putting things where they go - sooner.
Let’s get more organized. Feel free to share any techniques you have found useful in organizing your offices. Send your ideas to dennis@YourQSS.com.
**************** Learning Opportunities
You may be interested in attending one of these training seminars:
- June 1 & 2 – Lean Construction Design Forum – Hilton Garden Inn, Chicago – Sponsor: Lean Construction Institute. Register for the meeting at - http://www.mollyguard.com/event/27342783
- Aug. 23, 2006 – Lean Works in Construction – Kansas City, MO – Kansas City SMACNA Chapter
***************** A Quick Thought
“Like it or not, competition will take care of those who cannot change.”
Kiyoshi Suzaki, The New Manufacturing Challenge