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October 04, 2018

The True Meaning of Lean Construction

The concept of lean business principles is well established. It typically involves a series of tacticsauto designed to remove inefficiencies and eliminate redundancy. Often times associated with manufacturing environments, lean practices are also relevant to the construction industry, but sometimes misinterpreted.

In the drive to curb inefficiencies, contractors can view lean to simply mean completing projects faster or more cheaply. While those two outcomes are desirable, it also misses the point of such practices if that’s all it boils down to.

Building lean means making improvements across multiple areas, including reducing change order volume and injury frequency to protect the budget and workers while improving the bottom line. Going lean is not impossible, but incorporating project team collaboration tools makes it easier to achieve.

Replacing Speed with Collaboration

To change the perception of lean as being simply “better, faster, cheaper,” new schools of thought are prioritizing project team collaboration over outright speed. Within construction, adopting a lean approach means breaking down a project into categories to drill down into specific tasks to see where inefficiencies arise.

Some potential activities that cause contractors to lose time or absorb unplanned expenses include costly rework, maintaining excess inventory, and other cost burdens that can be avoided with stronger project management collaboration. By breaking projects down, it not only shows stakeholders where these cost centers exist, but also ensures the team isn’t making decisions for the entire project in silos.

New construction project collaboration software helps avoid these misalignments in communication by uniting teams via the cloud. As opposed to waiting for an in-person meeting to connect with team members, cloud-based collaboration software empowers them to reduce risk and drive efficiencies by automating the sharing, distribution, and tracking of all project-related details, including email communication, documents, approvals, costs, and more.

Going Lean with Ease

To put collaborative programs in place doesn’t mean tearing down and starting over – it simply means evaluating which programs your construction project management team currently uses and determining if that approach works in accordance with lean best practices.

USI’s team can perform an evaluation to determine where opportunities reside in your construction project management system for enhanced collaboration. Contact us today for a free demonstration.

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