Lean construction extends the methods of lean manufacturing to the construction industry by maximizing value and minimizing waste. The industry has quickly recognized the need to improve their processes to keep pace in an ever-growing environment. Recent studies by the industry have shown that 50% or more of effort in a built environment is non-value added, or waste.
Relationships in the industry are based on respect and reputation. Providers rely heavily on reputation and word-of-mouth for their continued business. Applying lean methodologies to the industry, organizations can maximize every aspect of their process, from design to supply and construction of capital facilities. The concept of lean construction produces significant improvements to complex design and projects. The industry has historically been an extremely siloed industry, which has severely constricted every aspect of process, from communication, design and building. Lean construction is making significant progress in eliminating those siloes and eliminating waste.
Lean construction recognizes that what the customer values is much deeper than simple planning and building. They have vision and values they want to see in their project, and want to be accurately represented in the final construction. Lean methodologies allow the industry to focus more on value from the customer’s point of view, which requires a different level of trust, established very early in the planning phases of a project. The industry is not immune to the tendency to stick to old ways and resist change, but the many benefits of the Lean approach are compelling more and more firms to take on the challenge. When projects come in on time, on budget, and with exactly the vision and value the customer expected, it is a win!