Category Archives: Lean in Action

LCI honors Dean Reed, with Pioneer Award at upcoming LCI Congress

ARLINGTON, Va. – Sept. 21, 2020 — The Lean Construction Institute (LCI) will recognize DPR Construction’s Dean Reed for his outstanding service to the construction industry and the Lean community by honoring him with the Pioneer Award at its 22nd Annual Congress.

2020 Pioneer Award Winner: Dean Reed

The Pioneer Award recognizes individuals who have moved the design and construction industry forward in embracing and implementing Lean tools and techniques. Mr. Reed is being recognized for the Pioneer Award because of his commitment to advancing Lean thinking as a teacher, mentor and colleague.

Reed is deeply rooted in Lean thinking and implementation. He co-authored Integrating Project Delivery and continues to lead workshops on implementing the framework and Lean implementation throughout the world. Mr. Reed influenced his organization, DPR Construction, to invest in developing software to support Last Planner® System (LPS) implementation, which proved to be so useful that Autodesk purchased it.

Among the best examples of Mr. Reed’s pioneering efforts to promote Lean is his leadership in encouraging a project team to implement both LPS and a Big Room for BIM coordination on the Sutter Health Camino Medical Group Center in Mountain View (completed in 2007 and now named the PAMF Mountain View Center). This was the first attempt for DPR and Sutter Health to complete a project using BIM and the Last Planner® System together and proved to Sutter Health leaders that they were on the right path with deploying BIM Lean Construction as key elements of Integrated Project Delivery.

Reed’s actions have served as a catalyst for bringing Lean thinking to new projects by setting an example of excellence. Mr. Reed will be recognized during the virtual LCI Congress, October 19-23, 2020. The award ceremony will take place on Thursday, October 22nd.

LCI honors Christian Pikel, with Chairman’s Award at upcoming LCI Congress

ARLINGTON, Va. – Sept. 28, 2020 — The Lean Construction Institute (LCI) will recognize The ReAlignment Group’s Christian Pikel for his work moving the design and construction industry forward through LCI’s mission by honoring him with the Chairman Award at its 22nd Annual Congress.

2020 Chairman Award Winner: Christian Pikel

The Chairman’s Award recognizes individuals who have moved the Lean Construction Institute forward in meeting its mission of Transforming the Design and Construction industry. Mr. Pikel has earned this year’s award for outstanding commitment to promoting LCI’s educational programming and Lean knowledge sharing.

Christian has spent more than 5 years supporting the development of LCI education materials and books. He has presented LCI webinars, has supported Community of Practice Events across the country, teaches and presents at Design Forum and Congress, serves on the LCI education advisory board, and is an LCI course instructor. As a consultant, he continues to teach, coach and spread proven Lean practices and thinking to project teams and organizations.

These outstanding contributions to promoting Lean education and LCI program support makes Christian Pikel a most worthy recipient of the award. LCI greatly appreciates of all his efforts on our behalf, which will continue to bring lasting positive effects on the design and construction industry.

Mr. Pikel will be recognized during the virtual LCI Congress, October 19-23, 2020. The award ceremony will take place on Thursday, October 22nd.

What is your company doing to transform its Lean practices due to the impact of COVID-19?

LCI is giving away one free registration to the 22nd LCI Congress core program valued at $695, offered virtually Oct. 20-23, to the winner of our LCI Corporate Member COVID-19 Lean Solutions Campaign!

To enter, post the link to your company’s blog post on how your organization has:

  • modified its approaches to continue to employ Lean methods and tools; or
  • put in place Lean practices designed to mitigate worker exposure to COVID-19 whether on a job site or in the office.

The purpose of this campaign is to share innovative ideas and inspire conversations in the design and construction community.

Deadline for submission is September 11, 2020.  The winner will be selected randomly and announced in the LCI Update Newsletter scheduled for October 1st.

  • Submitting on Twitter: Reply to this Tweet with a link to your company’s blog post, a sentence or two about which Lean approach that was used and hashtag, #C19LeanSolutions
  • Submitting on Facebook: Comment on this Facebook post with a link to your company’s blog post, a sentence or two about which Lean approach that was used and use hashtag #C19LeanSolutions
  • Submitting on LinkedIn: Comment on this LinkedIn post with a link to the blog post that showcases which Lean approach was used OR on your company LinkedIn Page and tag @Lean Construction Institute US with the link to the Lean approach used and use hashtag #C19LeanSolutions

To be eligible to win:

  • Your company must be a current LCI corporate member
  • Your blog post must be hosted on your company website and a minimum of 200 words
  • The blog post must be submitted to at least one of the LCI social media accounts mentioned above by September 11th.

While only one company will receive a free 2020 LCI Congress core program registration, each submission will be considered for promotion on LCI communication tools including the LCI Update Newsletter, social media posts and/or on the LCI website. The submitted blogs will be used as resources and solutions to support the design and construction community as it works to address the pandemic impacts.

We look forward to learning how our industry’s leading Lean organizations are mixing up their standard approaches to Lean to continue to improve project outcomes!  Create a MyLCI profile if you do not already have one to receive the LCI Update and other opportunities.

Lean Thinking During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In 2016, the staff at the Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC) implemented a PDCA approach in the clinic. PDCA is part of the Lean thinking process. They began by trying to reduce chaos. Part of the PDCA approach is to reduce factors that impede work flow, by doing so the staff is able to gain stability. Every week team members documented problems they were facing and the impacts of those issues to develop experiments which would help the leadership pin point issues and find out the best way to address them. This experiment process encouraged continuous improvement. By working collaboratively to trouble shoot these issues the staff was overall able to elevate their mindsets about their workplace and shift to a Lean thought process.

This was just the beginning. Overtime they saw the need to improve staff flow, patient flow and material flow. Which got the leadership team wondering, does the physical space we are working in support the flow that needs to exist to optimize performance? They utilized a 3P work model to get the stream and flow of traffic working better to cut down on patient wait time.

Fast forward to March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. LCHS was faced with the problems that the pandemic brought to every healthcare facility. Their Lean thinking system, which had been working very well since its implementation, was pushed to its limit. The work flow that had become part of the culture at LCHC saw strategic adjustments to keep staff safe. Teams created initial standards for safety. These “standards” were the cornerstone for creating a foundation which would keep the clinic running at top performance while dealing with COVID-19 patients. The leadership at LCHS put into place a plan which prioritized safety. After putting the plan into place, it quickly revealed which standards would and would not work to optimize the work flow and treat the most patients as quickly and safely as possible.

Adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for many. Healthcare facilities needed to adjust their way of doing things pretty much overnight when the pandemic swept the US. LCHC is a fantastic example of how Lean thinking was able to support that process of shifting gears without having to change the work flow drastically.

 

Lee, A. (2020). Using Lean Thinking to Create An “Emergency Management System”. Knowledge Center. Lean Enterprise Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.lean.org/common/display/?o=5274&utm_content=132484760&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin&hss_channel=lcp-91948

Promoting Diversity in the Workplace

Dome received survey results in early 2018 that indicated that women do not see as much professional growth opportunity for them at Dome as men do. Internally we discussed this issue and the fact that we believed we were doing all the right things, yet women were still leaving the company, getting stalled on the career ladder, and indicating general dissatisfaction. We decided to use our Lean Thinking hats and go direct to “the people closest to the problem” and formed a Women’s Leadership Team with ladies from all departments, offices, and levels along with a few male sponsors.

In our first meeting of this committee, we started by creating a Force Field to identify negative and positive restraining forces and used Affinity and Multi-Voting to identify the key problems. From there, we developed potential solutions to those problems and used an Impact/Difficulty Grid to identify where we could put our focus to have the greatest impact.  We chose the areas of Mentoring, Unconscious Bias, and Recruiting to focus on and formed a committee for each. Each committee started by using an A3 to dig into the topic and to set goals. We have been on this journey for (2) years now and we have seen the impact of our committees starting to take effect on our culture. Moving forward we are expanding into the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, we plan to continue to do PDCA until women and minorities see as many opportunities as men at Dome and until our top leadership truly reflects diversity.

 

By Melissa Berg (Dome Construction) & Remy Behl (Dome Construction)

Remembering Gregory Howell

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the recent passing of Greg Howell, one of the co-founders of the Lean Construction Institute and of the Lean Design and Construction discipline itself. Together with his friend and colleague Glenn Ballard, Greg was a true pioneer in conceiving and developing the concepts and tools that remain foundational in extending Lean thinking to the built environment today.

Greg passed away peacefully on June 15, 2020 at the age of 77. He is survived by his wife Dana Howell, his daughter Emily Thomsen, son-in-law Ian Thomsen, 3 grandchildren, his brother Kenneth Howell and his two favorite dogs, Chispa and Furgus.

Greg was a kind and generous man with a heart for helping others and a burning desire to improve the industry as a whole. He was a gifted and patient teacher, a much sought-after consultant and coach, and a persistent advocate for Lean through the period when it struggled to gain acceptance at any level. The fact that it has been maintained and its use expanded in the ensuing decades is in no small measure a tribute to Greg’s passion for making the industry better through a laser-like focus on improving project outcomes. This, and the growth and expansion of LCI since the days when Greg’s wife literally kept the books at their kitchen table, will serve as a lasting testimony to his life’s work and the clarity of his vision.

Greg graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Stanford University. He served as a Navy officer in the United States Civil Engineer Corps in Vietnam and Thailand. After his time in the military, he worked as a project engineer on heavy construction and general building projects while simultaneously managing his consulting firm, Howell Associates. He served as a visiting professor, then an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of New Mexico. Greg went on to serve as an Eminent Scholar at Arizona State University. It was not long after his time in academia that he and Glenn Ballard went on to found the Lean Construction Institute in 1997.

Greg was a co-founder and principal of LeanProject, a Lean construction consulting firm. His time there was spent helping clients improve projects and organizations through Lean thinking. Greg left his mark on the Lean design and construction industry through his dedication and passion for improving the industry as a whole with Lean methods. That is his legacy which will live on.

LCI Executive Director, Dan Heinemeier, had this to say about Greg: “I was privileged to know Greg and to benefit from his advice and counsel, particularly in my early years at LCI. His guidance was instrumental in helping me recognize and embrace the true potential of Lean as applied to construction. He also connected me with many other leading lights in the field who have contributed so much to my early onboarding and continued learning about Lean. For me, that personal legacy will continue to live on as a testament to Greg’s many contributions to LCI and our industry.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.

Please email GregHowellMemorial@gmail.com to share condolences, memories, pictures and stories. If you would like to donate to an organization in Greg’s honor we suggest Kiva.org or organizations supporting Alzheimer research, veterans and equal rights. There is also a memorial website if you would like to share something publicly about Greg Howell.

LCI Member Companies and COVID-19

LCI conducted a survey of member companies to gather information on how they have adjusted Lean practices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was reported that 93.8% of companies have adjusted Lean practices as a result of the pandemic. Those practices include social distancing requirements (6 feet apart), having virtual meetings, temperature scanning and disinfecting equipment. Some specific Lean practices that were mentioned to improve safety onsite included 5S to reinforce the importance of cleanliness and organization of materials, tools and equipment. Like many industries, a lot of design and construction work is being done virtually. Lean practices that are being used virtually include Last Planner System®, A3 and pull planning. Implementing these practices helps keep projects on schedule and supports mitigating the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Many have reported that they are continuing to do daily huddles and weekly work meetings, whether they take place on site or virtually with the intention of keeping project teams connected. Although the pandemic has changed the way we work, it has given folks the opportunity for continuous improvement. Communication has become even more important for everyone involved on projects. While we continue to look for a long term solution to COVID-19, the design and construction industry pushes on and continues to build necessary structures. Using Lean practices to stay efficient and timely has become even more important.

Some of the survey highlights include:

  • Virtual work practices actually seem to have been helpful in improving focus on areas like continuous improvement, innovative milestone planning, and waste reduction.
  • Social distancing requirements have prompted revised and somewhat slower-paced work schedules for trade contractors, which actually has served to improve work flow and trade stacking.
  • Enhanced use of visual communications tools and methods are improving safety and making virtual meetings more productive.
  • Numerous companies report stronger efforts towards improved communication between and among teams, which has served to promote collaboration and team building.
  • Several respondents noted successful adaptation of traditional Lean methods to virtual in doing pull planning, retrospectives, continuous improvement, etc.
  • Technology is not a panacea, but tools like Trello and Sharepoint are enhancing productivity in various ways in the virtual work environment.
  • One of the most positive comments made seems to sum up much of our industry’s experience in continuing to pursue Lean even in the face of COVID 19 restrictions: “Doing things virtually has been extremely effective, and easier than many people thought it would be.”

What you can expect from the virtual Lean in Design Forum

Adjusting to our new normal, no matter how temporary, means reimagining how we connect and learn. This year’s Lean in Design Forum is a prime example. The now virtual event may look and feel different, but the cutting-edge content, expert presentations, and compelling discussions planned will maintain the same caliber as years past. Maybe even better — this year, we have the unique opportunity to experience a new form of collaboration and inclusivity. While everyone may be joining from the safety of their own space, we’re all coming together as one to discuss these timely and essential topics that impact teams and work in the design community.

Here are just a few things you can expect this year:

Virtual attendee technology checks

First, we will begin both days by ensuring all technology is functioning properly for attendees. We encourage attendees to log on between 10:30-11 a.m. EST to make time to confirm you are set up to get the full virtual experience.

Expert insights on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

Hear from the below panelists as they share guidance from their research and experience in adopting EDI principles to build successful teams and foster effective solutions.

Lean and Evidence-Based Design: Where to Begin

A partnership between Lean and Evidence-Based Design can transform your project outcomes.  This integrated approach ensures you’re beginning with research and data collection to uncover the true why for the project, the root cause of issues in the current design and/or process and generating informed solutions to evaluate. Join this session led by Donna Deckard, Director of Strategic Projects, Center for Health Design, Andrea Sponsel, Director of Lean Strategy and Change Management, BSA LifeStructures, and Terri Zborowsky, Research Specialist, HGA Architects & Engineers and leave with tools and resources that can be applied on your next project.

Building High Performing Teams

High performing teams are those that learn and grow together, maximizing the unique skills each member possesses. Hear from HKS, Inc. experts Bernita Beikmann, Chief Process Officer, Health Group, and Stevi McKoy, director of organizational development as they lead an interactive session on strengthening teams and their performances with trust and respect.

Explore these areas and so much more when you join the first ever virtual Lean in Design Forum. View the full agenda here and make your plans now to join us May 27–28.

Speaker Spotlight: Meet the Experts Presenting at 2020 Design Forum

LCI’s virtual Lean in Design Forum, May 27–28, will feature industry experts, each bringing a unique perspective to inspire attendees. Get to know the plenary speakers who will share how equity, diversity and inclusion has strengthened their teams and advanced their work:

Dan Heinemeier

As LCI’s executive director, Dan Heinemeier is responsible to the Board of Directors for LCI’s programmatic, budgetary and organizational success. With over 30 years of experience in association management, he has served the technology, government contracting and construction industries in programming and senior management roles, including President, COO and Executive Director positions.















Yiselle Santos Rivera

Yiselle currently serves as the associate representative on the AIA National Board and as the AIA DC chapter board secretary and is also a committee member in the AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture and the New Urban Agenda Taskforce. Her other accolades include being a co-founder of the Latin American Interior Designers, Engineers, and Architects (LA.IDEA) DC Committee; a founder and past-Chair of the AIA DC Equity Committee; and the founder of “Women Inspiring Emerging Leaders in Design” (WIELD), which received the 2019 AIA Diversity Program Recognition Award.

Rosa Sheng

Rosa T. Sheng, FAIA is a principal at SmithGroup, serving as the studio leader of higher education and director of equity, diversity, inclusion. She was president of AIA San Francisco l in 2018 and founding chair of Equity by Design. In her 26 years in practice, Rosa has led a variety of award-winning and internationally acclaimed projects from the aesthetically minimal, highly technical development of the glass structures for Apple’s original high-profile retail stores, to the innovative and sustainable projects for Institutions of higher learning including the LEED NC Gold–certified Lorry I. Rosa’s thought leadership and activism has been recognized for catalyzing a national movement for equitable practice in Architecture and featured at TEDxPhiladelphia, Cannes Lions Festival, Harvard, Stanford and KQED/NPR.

Henry Nutt

After 12 years as the Sheet Metal General Superintendent at Southland Industries, and 32 years as a union sheet metal worker, Henry brings a wealth of practical knowledge to his new position as Business Development Manager. As a member of LCI’s Board of Directors, he leads a task force designed to improve trade partner adoption of Lean principles. He also sits on the Association of General Contractors of America’s (AGC) Lean Steering Committee and Inclusion Steering Committee.

Nancy Alexander

Nancy Alexander is a leadership coach, Certified Master Facilitator,TM and organizational development consultant for the building industry. The first person in the U.S. to earn the diploma in systemic team coaching from the Academy of Executive Coaching, U.K., Nancy co-authored the AIA Guides for Equitable Practice and is currently conducting the Yale School of Architecture’s first culture and climate survey. She holds a BA in sociology and an MBA from Yale, as well as an MA in women’s studies and an executive coaching certificate from Columbia University.

Heather Currier Hunt

Heather Currier Hunt is IDEO’s senior global director of learning & development. She leads the strategy, design, and implementation of a promise — namely, to make sure IDEO is an organization that offers everyone, regardless of role or tenure, the opportunity to become a world-changing creative leader. Heather has led extraordinary teams in creating IDEO’s first global leadership development programs. Heather makes it her mission to ensure everyone finds their authentic expression, expanding the definition of what goods looks like, and inspiring the world to become more inclusive every day.

Barbara Bouza

Barbara is co-managing director, principal of Gensler Los Angeles and has been a global influencer for human well-being through design excellence. Gensler is widely recognized as the world’s leading design firm, with nearly 6,000 professionals networked across 48 offices in the Americas, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Through her collaborative leadership style, Barbara brings strategic design management to highly innovative clients such as Netflix, JPL/NASA, TikTok, Amgen and the City of Hope.

 

Hear from these experienced and inspirational experts by registering for this year’s virtual Design Forum today!

Takt Planning & Scheduling and COVID-19

What does Takt Planning & Scheduling have to do with COVID-19?

Takt Planning & Scheduling could be one of the most important construction practices to keep both your workers and your bottom line healthy. This is because Takt Planning & Scheduling treats “space” as a critical constraint. On an assembly line, workers have a designated space to do their work. Similarly, with Takt Planning & Scheduling construction workers have a designated space to do their work. The main difference is that instead of the work coming to the worker, the worker goes to the work during a specified time or takt.

The big benefit in these times of physical distancing is that a Takt Plan & Schedule focuses on providing sufficient space for workers to do their job. Once workers complete their jobs, they do not go into the next area until the start of the next takt. A little buffer ensures everyone is finished before the start of the next takt. This also keeps the job on a predictable pace and punch lists to a minimum.

This is not a new idea. Many of the large suburbs built after WWII were done this way with great success. Productivity, as well as cost and schedule certainty, went way up. It also reduced training time and enabled workers to master a specific skill set.

 

BMW is a leader in Takt Planning & Scheduling. Takt, by the way, is a German term that refers to rhythm or the beat of music. It should be no surprise that a car company with years of experience applying Lean principles and practices to manufacturing would figure out how to apply them to construction. A great example is the plant BMW built in Brazil to assemble the all-electric i3. They built it in half the time and at half the cost of similar projects. The sketch below shows the overall Takt Plan used on this job. It’s amazing how powerful and simple it is.

The Takt Plan for the BMW Assembly Plant in Araquari, Brazil.

The takt time for building this plant was 1 week.

Two trains of workers started from the outside and worked their way to the middle.

It’s worth noting that this simple sketch replaced multiple pages of a typical construction schedule.

The mantra to follow is just as simple:

Takt if you can,

Pull if you can’t,

Push as a last resort.

A good Takt Plan creates flow and value and eliminates waste as work progresses with a predictable rhythm. And with the need for physical distancing, the value from Takt Planning & Scheduling has never been greater.

 

About the author:

Mike Staun was responsible for Global Capital Management at Procter & Gamble before his retirement in 2019. He is now the Chairman of the Board for the Lean Construction Institute and a Senior Advisor for McKinsey & Company in their Capital Projects & Infrastructure practice.