Lean started in manufacturing and has helped many companies achieve greater productivity and reduce costs. However, there is one opportunity that most manufacturing plants ignore regarding applying Lean and it is now a great potential for increasing profits and being more competitive. That is Lean Construction.
Plant management often views the construction phase of a new plant start-up or the remodel of an existing facility as a necessary evil. While the facility is under construction, no revenue is coming in and many dollars are being spent. Some self-manage the construction process while other plant managers look to a general contractor and/or a construction manager to keep costs down and meet schedule. All plant managers feel limited in how much they can reduce costs and schedule without impacting quality. In fact, the traditional thinking in construction is that one can only get two of the three factors of construction: quality--low cost--fast schedule. If you want it built right and fast, you must pay more. It is analogous to the mistaken thinking that higher quality always cost more. The quality guru Philip Crosby proved the fallacy of that. Now Lean is proving that you can build for less, faster and still maintain quality.
Source: Industry Week, http://industryweek.com
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