Get Lean and Go Digital to Improve Construction Productivity
Advanced Work Packaging (AWP), Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), Design-Build, and collaborative project delivery systems are solving the construction productivity dilemma.
Recent studies predict these collaborative project delivery methods will become the norm by 2025.
But while it’s true that not all project owners are comfortable with collaborative contracts, it’s also true that the Design-Bid-Build model is quickly losing favor.
That means two things:
- Design-Bid-Build is dying.
It’s simply not as productive or profitable as collaborative project delivery models.
- Construction firms need to improve their productivity. They simply won’t survive otherwise.
Here’s what we cover:
How to improve construction productivity: Start from where you are
Construction productivity typically fails in the field, but not always.
Sometimes leadership or management fails to deliver.
Disorganized operations, lack of capital, and poor decision-making are just as detrimental to a project as lackluster performance in the field.
In any case, the first step to any improvement is an honest assessment of where you are.
Here are three great places to start.
In Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, researcher, author, and sought-after business advisor Jim Collins found the most successful companies in history focused on people first.
No strategy will ever be successful without the right people in the positions they can excel in.
So the questions are:
- Are you coaching and educating the people you have?
- Are you actively recruiting the people you need?
The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers links to several apprenticeship programs and details on how to start an apprenticeship program for yourself.
ConstructionReady.org helps people of all ages join the construction workforce.
And the Center for Construction Research and Training offers free resources and safety training to help you build the workforce you need.
The inconsistencies in construction demand adaptability, but constant change without solid principles leads to chaos, confusion, and costly errors.
Lean principles are by far the most successful productivity principles available. And adopting lean thinking and lean production principles costs nothing but commitment and effort.
The Lean Construction Institute offers plenty of free research and resources to get you started.
Unless your construction project is an exact replica of a previous project, an estimated schedule is the best you can do.
It’s no wonder that so many projects fall behind.
You already know the schedule will change. But, instead of waiting for it to happen, you can prepare and manage for change by following a system.
A typical on-site lean production planning system focuses on three basic elements:
- Performance review
What does that look like?
On a construction site, the site manager, area planner, forepersons, and supervisors would meet weekly to plan out everything that will happen on-site for the week–right down to the last detail. Then, the meeting attendees make commitments on behalf of their crews to accomplish the work according to the agreed-upon plan.
Then the crew leaders reconvene daily to update the team on their progress. And if things aren’t going to plan, adjustments are made before things spiral out of control.
The following week at their regular meeting, the crew leaders, site manager, and area planner can then analyze what worked and what went wrong and plan out the coming week’s activities accordingly.
This simple commitment to collaboration, planning, and problem-solving will help any organization build the resilience and resources to adapt to the constant variables in the construction process.
For further insight, the Lean Construction Institute’s Last Planner System is a complete program that addresses this in greater detail.
Transforming construction productivity with technology
Technology takes your productivity efforts to the next level.
Cloud-based project management software provides centralized communication to keep work flowing smoothly.
Project teams can connect with other team members in the office or the field, coordinate activities, and collaborate in real time.
Team members can view and manage documents, schedule meetings, and access communication tools from one central platform.
A cloud-based workflow management system provides real-time reporting.
That means managers have secure and immediate data access from anywhere. So instead of the delays caused by emails or phone calls, managers can make crucial decisions faster, saving valuable time.
What would technology mean for construction productivity in your firm?
By some estimates, implementing technology can increase your productivity by 15, 20, or even 25% over current levels.
Even gaining a single hour of productivity each day from every employee and your investment in technology would quickly pay for itself.
One hour at $25/hr x 5 days a week = $125.00 per week, per employee.
$125.00 per week x an avg of 50 weeks per year = $6,250.00 per year, per employee.
That’s impressive savings and plenty of motivation to explore the gains in productivity made possible by digital technology.
Improve construction productivity with software built for construction
Linarc is a cloud-based project management system built solely for collaborative, data-driven construction management.
- Seamless collaboration
- Easy file sharing
- Common communication platform
- Real-time updates on project progress
- …and so much more
Connect with a Linarc representative and see what the power of software technology can do to improve the productivity of your operation.