What is Lean Construction?
A term coined by the International Group for Lean Construction in 1993, lean construction was designed as a way to improve product delivery in the construction industry. This was in response to a steady decline in productivity, which made it necessary to review construction management. However, the term was made popular by the Toyota Company. According to Forbes, lean construction makes Toyota the most efficient auto manufacturer in the world. This can be contributed to the fact that lean production has been applied to most of their business operations.
Lean construction or production is simply defined as production that takes less time, requires less labor and produces low material waste. It essentially minimizes waste and maximizes value by focusing on customer needs. It’s applied through design, procurement, manufacture and construction.
The integrated technique requires that suppliers, contractors and clients work together to deliver a valuable product. Unlike manufacturing, lean construction is not construction based, its production based. Successful production systems are formed when all functions of the project are integrated.
Why Does it Matter?
The use of lean construction matters because it has many benefits for the companies that implement the techniques. The most obvious benefit is that building capital assets in a more efficient manner causes a ripple effect that impacts the client, the supplier, the contractor, the environment and even future users of the manufacturing facility. Other benefits include:
- Better workflow
- Increased output
- Reduction of production time
- Constructive utilization of materials
- Reduces environmental waste
All of these benefits mean manufacturers will be better capable of delivering products of value. Something that will happen because lean construction makes it necessary for project managers to be more attentive to their company’s processes, the people involved in production and the delivery of every service. In the lean production process, collaboration between management and production is emphasized, thus creating an environment for greater products.
This means higher quality products for consumers. Through the use of lean construction, projects are repeatable because of the use of recycled and sourced components. The Construction Pro Net website has also reported that companies who use lean techniques reap these benefits and see significant results.
However, the process means scrutiny of a company’s daily practices and production process. This scrutiny makes it easy to identify the value of current processes and any waste that prevents value from being delivered to the consumer. So, lean construction can actually make a company more profitable and flexible.
Why Should One Care About Lean Construction?
Lean construction basically provides better products for consumers. It’s also a ‘green’ process that minimizes waste during production and construction of cars, homes, buildings and so much more; a contribution that can help create a healthier, yet more efficient environment for all.
Basically, one should care about lean construction because it provides better products at faster rates. Consumers get more of what they love without sacrificing quality, which also means more money for the producers of these products.
How is Lean Construction Affecting the World
Lean construction is affecting many industries, including auto manufacturing, construction, infrastructure and energy generation. Toyota has already proven how efficient the process can be in the production of cars, but auto manufacturing is obviously not the only industry where lean construction is having a big impact. The process is highly effective for the construction of buildings, wind power or energy generation and infrastructure.
In the wind power industry, lean construction can highly reduce the costs of building wind farms, which are so high that they often prevent the construction of more farms. Lean techniques can also create more sources of energy. In infrastructure, the techniques can be used to construct better and lower cost structures all over the world. Structures of all types can also be built at faster rates and lower costs.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Federal Steel Supply, Inc., a leading steel tubing suppliers of carbon, alloy and stainless steel pipe, tubes, fittings and flanges.