Lean is an operations strategy that aims to maximize value for customers by constantly improving the flow efficiency of processes. Improving flow efficiency is ensured by reducing waste, that is the use of non-value-producing resources. Identification and elimination of the use of resources that do not produce value requires an understanding how these differ from the resources that produce value, the distinguishing between these two in turn requires the recognition and definition of the value produced for customers.
It means that in lean thinking, attention is focused on the value produced for the customer instead of each party in the project having their own and possibly conflicting goals. This is carried out by a wider cooperation and overall optimization than usually, which enables clients to get the best value for their money, and at the same time benefits the other parties to the project, as efforts are not wasted on reconciliation of conflicting interests.
Value by eliminating waste
Lean principle means production of value by eliminating waste. This is carried out in construction sector by various lean-thinking operation methods and tools that focus on the integration of the different phases and parties of the project and their early involvement. Early involvement enables the definition of customer value, and simultaneous planning of both project final product and its production system. By integrating different stages and actors, the goal is to achieve unified processes where improving flow efficiency is possible and the end results are predictable.
Efficiency can be achieved by predictability
Lean’s goal is to establish a predictable and steady production flow. Predictability applies to the planning process, the end result of the project, and also the smooth and regular implementation of individual work phases. This allows better control of project costs and schedule as well as more precise management of resources and deliveries. This in turn generates better productivity, lower costs, and shorter project turnaround times.
Continuous strive for improvement
Implementation of lean principles does not happen in the blink of an eye – it is rather a process of questioning and improvement of things. Basically, the comprehensive transition to the use of lean principles requires a significant culture change. Continuous improvement requires humble attitude, openness, and respect for every contribution.