Building Chicago 2011 - (Page 10)
hen it comes to saving money, working faster and creating a better building, lean construction principles can be an owner or developer’s best friend. In an industry traditionally slow to change its ways, lean is well on its way to becoming mainstream, and The Boldt Company is one of the major leaders of the pack. Lean construction is a productionmanagement approach to project delivery that aims to maximize value and minimize waste in order to better satisfy the customer and improve overall performance. It’s quite a mouthful and a little confusing at ﬁrst, but Todd Brink, Director of Continuous Improvement at the Boldt Company, summed it up quite nicely. “Lean’s pretty adaptable,” Brink said. “You want to ﬁnd waste and get rid of it.” The practice of Lean Production Management was originally created by Eiji Toyoda and Taiichi Ohno of Toyota Motor Company in Japan after World War II. Since then, the success of lean production has surged, and companies from a variety of industries have begun implementing it. This includes the construction industry, which is now beginning to employ lean on a much wider scale. The Boldt Company, which is based in Appleton, Wis., has utilized lean techniques on most of its projects, including Sutter Health in Sacramento, Calif. Boldt faced an unprecedented challenge in this project. The client wanted to add a 70,000-square-foot ambulatory surgery center and medical 10 • Building Chicago 2011
clinic to its campus, but set a dollarper-square-foot limit almost $25 below Boldt’s past average. “With Sutter, in terms of budget cost and processes, we took a lot of waste out of the budget and tried to exceed the value for a lower budget,” Brink said. “We were pushing everything we know about lean.” Boldt actually met the client’s needs for $2 per foot under the budget, as a result of taking the initiative and effectively employing lean practices. “Lean means being more proactive,” Brink said. “It forces you to act differently, and in some cases to bring people on board that you didn’t expect. You might have to spend more money up front, let’s say $40,000, but it’s better than having to spend $80,000 later on.” One of the ﬁrst things construction companies and general contractors need to do to start the lean journey is to get plenty of training. That begins with upper management, Brink said. “Lean has to be supported from the top, but the boots on the ground are the ones who will be bring the issue to light,” he said. Upper management must embrace lean principles and commit to fulﬁlling its promises to the customer. To eliminate waste, lean construction implements a practice of utilizing the knowledge of all parties involved to plan the project, including precisely who should be doing what in the ﬁeld. “In construction, it’s still the same model since the 1600s,” Brink said.
Maximizing Value and Minimizing Waste
By Sophia Venetos
“The way that something gets done has to do with who yells the loudest.” Lean emphasizes a more cooperative approach ﬁlled with trust. It begins with complete honesty between all the companies involved and especially the customer, Brink said. To achieve this, Brink recommends bringing all parties on board early in the project. Through truthfulness and a great deal of communication, the project will begin to have more manageable, fully understood and realistic goals. “You have to go from command and conquer to more collaboration and sharing,” Brink said. Rather than focusing on, “What I have to do,” lean is more about the big picture. Emphasis falls on the team approach, which commences in the pre-planning stage. “You’re trying to mesh a common goal with all the companies, which can be a huge challenge,” Brink said. “But
Not only does lean provide exceptional value to the customer at the project’s conclusion, but each member of the project teams reaps rewards as well.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Building Chicago 2011
Building Chicago 2011
A Message from the Builders Association President
The Green Path to Collaboration
What is The Builders Association?
Economic Incentives of Safety
Index of Advertisers/ Advertisers.com
Building Chicago 2011