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Archive for June, 2014

A Bottom-Up Approach to Lean Construction: Increase Business Opportunities for Subs, Value for Owners

Thursday, June 26th, 2014


shutterstock_77585377Trade contractors that have thought about going Lean but are still waiting for the “right” project to come along may be missing major opportunities.

It’s true that as Lean first moved from manufacturing into the construction arena, its use was typically driven by a project owner’s desire to keep costs from running over budget and ensure project milestones were reached on time.

Pioneering owners led the formation of integrated teams and required everyone (construction managers, architects, engineers, GCs, and major subcontractors) to apply lean project delivery methodologies

Today, however, even a single project contributor who adopts Lean Construction practices to improve business processes will ultimately deliver increased value to the customer.


How To Improve Construction Project Efficiency Part 2: Lean Principles, Tools, and Advanced Approaches

Thursday, June 19th, 2014


McGraw Hill Construction, the Lean Construction Institute and Dassault Systèmes teamed up to produce an in-depth report on Lean Construction.

Below is an excerpt from that report, part 2 of a 2-part series on the adoption of Lean construction practices. (Click here to read part 1.)

Lean Construction Guiding Principles

As Lean has its roots in manufacturing, some have turned to approaches that are rooted in those industries.

Toyota Way

While most experts said they are familiar with the set of Toyota Way principles, they tend to “pick and choose” aspects of it that apply to their businesses.

For example, some mentioned that respecting individuals and striving for continuous improvements—which are central in Toyota Way—are important precepts in their organizations.

Other principles of Toyota Way, like solving root problems, can be seen in the systems they use, such as Last Planner.

Six Sigma

Similarly, Six Sigma strives to identify and solve root problems. Although Six Sigma is a system that offers tools and strategies for process improvement, there is limited adoption of it by companies.

Again, some say they may follow certain aspects that relate to their businesses, but not others. “Six Sigma tends to be a bit more manufacturing, and I don’t think we find it as applicable in our business,” says one contractor.

A trade contractor also notes that while industrial construction has embraced Six Sigma, “the commercial industry isn’t sophisticated enough to really embrace it,” and he notes that instead they rely on systems like Last Planner.


The Evolution of AEC Tech: Q-and-A with CornerCube’s Fernando España

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Mr. Fernando España, President of Corner Cube, Inc.

Fernando España is at the forefront of Lean construction practices in the US and abroad.

With over 30 years in the construction industry, España has extensive experience in the facilitation, definition, design, implementation, monitoring, and optimization of Lean solutions.

He is the president of CornerCube, a Dassault Systèmes partner located in the San Francisco Bay area, which offers Lean construction solutions, 3D technology solutions, and related technical services to the AEC industry.

España recently offered his perspectives with us regarding the current state of the industry, trends in technology, and Lean Thinking. Below is a transcript of a portion of our conversation.


How To Improve Construction Project Efficiency Part 1: Insights by Lean Practitioners

Thursday, June 5th, 2014


McGraw Hill Construction, the Lean Construction Institute and Dassault Systèmes teamed up to produce an in-depth report on Lean Construction. Below is an excerpt from that report, part 1 of a 2-part series on the adoption of Lean practices:

In the effort to bring Lean to the industry, contractors are employing a broad mix of principles, processes and tools for Lean construction. While there are some more commonly adopted means and methods, many companies are seeking their own unique solutions.


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Lean principles are also being applied by companies at various levels—from the field to the back office.

Given the broad and diverse approaches, companies are learning that there is no “silver bullet” for being Lean. <<Click to Tweet

Efficiency Efforts: GCs

During the past five years, general contractors (GCs) who have adopted Lean principles and practices have focused their efficiency efforts mostly in the field.


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