Lean Principle - Stop if Necessary

All construction projects will run into some degree of problems.

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It is how the management team chooses to manage these problems that ultimately determines the outcome of the project.  

Field Productivity: Lean Principle, Stop Work Until Problems are Corrected. Quote: If a project is in trouble and you don't have a workable plan then shut it down until you do. Kiewit Superintendent Training.

The tenacity to keep moving forward no matter what is an amazing trait shared by many in construction.  It is what moves projects forward. It is also the trait that will get project teams in massive trouble when the problems reach a tipping point making their plan unworkable.  

There is a line of reasoning that says moving forward and continuing to work is what must be done.  There is even contract language including liquidated damages that can reinforce this mentality. The automobile industry had the same mentality:

“Never stop the production line - no matter what.  It costs thousands of dollars per minute.”

Toyota who is the world’s most valuable automobile manufacturer looked at it differently:

“Quality and production are too important.  We MUST stop the production line if we are struggling or have a quality failure in any way. That is how we troubleshoot, learn and improve.”  

Through their andon system they empowered everyone to stop production.  It’s a paradigm shift that the best contractors such as Kiewit have adopted.


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