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Lean Management Makes You Strong


Lean management, a philosophy that strives to deliver the most value in the least wasteful way possible, is finding its way from a “manufacturing thing” into the commercial real estate industry. JE Dunn Construction lean specialist Matt Spears says it’s all about a linear and reliable workflow, focused on continuous improvement. The construction company is integrating Lean into its highly complex project delivery methods, with its assorted subsystems and individual components. Matt says the most valuable Lean tool used in project delivery is the Last Planner System (LPS), consisting of five phases in which project teams are able to identify and remove constraints before they interrupt workflow, reliably schedule work at the “pull” of the customer, and immediately recognize and address interruptions to flow through rapid learning and continuous improvement. The journey is not always smooth, especially when it comes to creating lasting behavioral changes, but Matt offers a few tips for success:

• View your process in a new way, perhaps with a flowchart, paying particular attention to constraints and bottlenecks.
• Don’t just deal with everyday problems by creating new workarounds for them—fix them.
• Identify waste (anything not adding value), such as overproduction, unnecessary transportation, inventory, defects, over-processing, unnecessary motion, waiting and underutilization of people.

These steps typically make clear there is room for improvement, and show the company where to begin the problem-solving process. Ultimately there’s no substitute for a passionate workforce committed to continuous improvement and respect for people, and that is not afraid to get dirty hands and learn by doing. For more information on our Bisnow partner and on the lean process, click here.