5 Reasons Why Construction Needs Lean

By Brian Lightner, Lean & Quality Control Manager

For decades, the term “Lean” was applied strictly to manufacturing processes. In recent years, however, the construction industry has begun to adapt Lean principles for their own purposes. This is a positive step forward for an industry that has historically shown flat productivity improvements. How does integrating Lean improve the construction process? Here are five convincing reasons.

  1. Lean Forces Us to Examine Processes. Most construction firms maintain historical data to estimate the time and resources needed to perform certain processes. But how often do we challenge that data? Lean methodology requires us to examine every step in a process, question its value and make improvements as needed. Following where both data and observation take you – instead of using generalized assumptions based on questionable data or no data at all – is essential to collecting measurements that lead to improvements.
  2. Lean Reduces Waste. When we find and eliminate the non-value-added steps in a process, the result is a drastic reduction in waste. This includes physical waste (excess materials, unnecessary tools, etc.); time spent on nonvaluable or redundant tasks, or waiting for others; and the accompanying financial impact of that wasted labor and material.
  3. Lean Establishes Standards. Taiichi Ohno, the driving force behind the Lean manufacturing phenomenon, once said, “Without standards, there can be no improvement.” When adopting Lean principles, construction firms establish baseline productivity standards based on realistic, value-focused processes – and measure future processes against those standards.
  4. Lean Addresses Labor Shortages. Lean construction methods improve and maintain productivity without necessarily adding labor resources. With the ongoing challenge to find skilled labor, this is a welcome bonus!
  5. Lean Improves Scheduling. Glenn Ballard, founder of the Lean Construction Institute, observed that most schedules are just “forecasts,” which typically have two features: they are inaccurate, and that inaccuracy increases the further out you try to forecast. Lean facilitates the transition from ‘scheduling’ or ‘forecasting’ to ‘planning’ – the purposeful act of making work ready. Emphasis is on developing a detailed understanding of project requirements, which increases a plan’s reliability; equal emphasis is on improving the reliability of the commitments required for successful delivery.  Lean fosters a collaborative atmosphere where responsibility is distributed to a team, which is much more effective than requiring one project manager to develop and maintain a single, often overgeneralized schedule and bear the burden of understanding by themselves.

The Safety Numbers Are In

Riley Construction’s safety numbers are better than ever!

The NCCI (National Council on Compensation Insurance) has revised our EMRs* for the past 3 years.

2017: 0.54 (from 0.55)
2016: 0.51 (from 0.52)
2015: 0.60 (from 0.61)

An EMR of 1.0 is considered the industry average, which means Riley’s safety rating is currently 46% better than average!

 

*Experience Modification Rate (EMR) is a number used by insurance companies to gauge both past cost of injuries and future chances of risk. The lower the EMR, the better the safety record. These new numbers may seem like small changes, but in reality, it’s very hard to move even slightly when EMRs are already so low.

The R.E.A.L School’s New Location Opens!

The remodel is complete on The R.E.A.L. School’s new location in Sturtevant! It officially opened its doors on Wednesday at 10116 Stellar Ave. The R.E.A.L. School houses students in grades 6-12. The new location allows the school to grow, gives students opportunities to prepare for college and/or careers and get real world experiences. They will also get the opportunity to work closely with Gateway Technical College’s nearby SC Johnson iMET Center.

Our Milwaukee Team Has Moved to a New, Larger Location!

To better serve our customers, we’ve moved our Milwaukee area office to an expanded location in Waukesha. Conveniently located off I-94, the new office provides nearly 40% more space than our previous location, to accommodate growth in the Milwaukee market.

“This move is in direct response to customer demand,” said Ben Kossow, Vice President of Operations. “Since 2011 alone, we’ve experienced a 400% increase in volume in the Milwaukee region. This new facility will enable us to add the staff and resources we need to continue delivering the high level of service our customers have come to expect.”

The move is complete and Riley is ready to serve customers from the new location! Click here for the new address. All phone numbers and extensions remain the same.

Breaking Ground: InSinkErator Corporate Headquarters

Earlier this week, the Riley team and InSinkErator held a Groundbreaking Ceremony for InSinkErator’s new Corporate Headquarters in Mount Pleasant, WI. From left to right: Dave Riley, Chairman; Barb Riley, Executive Vice President; Chad Severson, President of InSinkErator; Paul Miller, Senior Project Manager; Patrick Flaherty, Project Engineer; and Tim Herr, Project Superintendent.

Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha Dodgeball Tournament

Last night our elite Riley dodgeball team competed in a tournament benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha. Their quick reflexes lead them to victory. Congratulations to our mighty dodgeball warriors!

Top Workplace 3 Years in a Row!

Riley Construction has been honored as a Top Workplace in southeastern Wisconsin by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for the 3rd year in a row!  To earn a spot on the list, Riley’s employees were surveyed regarding their views on organizational health, their job and employee engagement. The evaluations for the list are based purely on employee opinions. The employee survey was conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement. For the full list and more details click here.

Gateway Opens the New Kenall Protective Services Training Center

collage_lowGateway Technical College’s new Kenall Protective Services Training Center at the Kenosha Campus provides enhanced training opportunities for Gateway’s Law Enforcement Academy as well as ongoing training for area law enforcement agencies. They can train in a more realistic setting, so they can better face actual emergencies in the communities they protect and serve.The 30,000-square-foot project features multiple state-of-the-art public safety learning labs including:

  • Chem Lab – For recreating crime scene investigation forensics activities
  • Milo Lab –  A video simulation system capable of broadcasting numerous tactical scenarios that police officers may run into on a daily basis so students can practice multiple situations
  • Blood Spatter Room – Room that is dedicated to analyzing bloodstains and patterns
  • Mat Room – Technical training  area where students participate in use of force scenario training to prepare them for on-the-job situations
  • Twelve-Lane Shooting Range – The new 50-yard, 50-caliber range increases shooter capacity, improves air quality and safety, and provides for better lead abatement