Lean Principle - Value Stream

A contractor’s value stream is every step required to take raw materials and information then deliver a completed project to the waiting hands of a customer.

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A deep understanding of this value stream at various levels of detail down to actual installation steps is the foundation upon which major productivity improvements can be made.  

Field Productivity: Lean Principle - Value Stream.

As an example consider every step required to put lighting in a conference room - these are just the highlights:  

  • Initial design requirements
  • Quotes from distributor for estimating
  • Submittals and approvals
  • Ordering, tracking and receiving
  • Moving around jobsite to work area
  • Installation
  • Inspection
  • Training of the customer
  • Punch list

This is the highest level and if you mapped out each of those in another 5-25 steps you would start to see a clear picture of what it really takes to install a light fixture in a conference room.  

Start at the highest level - what can be cut out, reduced or sequenced differently?  

Look at the details - can you use 2 screws instead of 4?  50% cost savings at that step! 

Remember that the customer just wants light - could a skylight or more windows reduce the lighting need at the design stage?  


Labor Productivity Workshop


Labor Productivity
Field labor is the often the biggest variable on a construction project - making it the biggest risk and opportunity....

Labor Productivity
Field labor is the often the biggest variable on a construction project - making it the biggest risk and opportunity....

Understanding the Construction Field Day
For a contractor to truly improve their field productivity, they must start with understanding how the time is spent. Depending on the trade, project, and the labor, study the time spent on actual installation ranges from 50-64%.
Lean Principle - Observation (Gemba Walks and Learning to See)
One of the most important tools for improving productivity is going to the jobsite or work area and observing for an extended period of time with the intent to understand but not to immediately interact. Observation progresses through about 7 stages.
Setting Standards and the Feedback Loop
Set the standard. Train to the standard. Certify to the standard. Plan the work to the standard. Execute to the plan and the standard. Check against the standard. Make prioritized improvements to the standard, training, planning, and execution.