Lean Does Not Make Cents, It Makes Dollars

Blog by Felipe Engineer-Manriquez

Lean is a mindset; it is a way of thinking.  For me, it is much more than methods that maximize both efficiency and effectiveness.  Lean is more about living the values of respect for people and continuously improving.  I worked in construction for almost a decade before even hearing about it.  One of my mentors says Lean Thinking isn’t something that you learn in a book, it is more caught than taught.

Caution, applying Lean in your work may radically change your work life.

After a few years of practicing some Lean methods with a small group of Lean enthusiasts at McCarthy Building Companies, I was fortunate enough to attend the largest Lean gathering in the United States, the Lean Construction Institute’s Annual Lean Congress.  That was six years ago.  Since then, I’ve volunteered for each subsequent planning committee.  Here are my top three reasons to stay engaged year after year.

  1. Learning from peers and networking with people that are committed to building better.
  2. Design and construction professionals show and tell how they successfully and unsuccessfully implemented Lean on numerous types of projects.
  3. Bringing back inspiration to our project teams to experiment with better design and construction methods.

Our Results

Lean Construction at McCarthy keeps evolving.  Our company’s values are aligned with the six Lean Construction principles.

  1. Respect People
  2. Deliver Value
  3. Create Flow
  4. Remove Waste
  5. Continuously Improve
  6. Optimize the Whole

This synergistic set of values stated as actions guide our teams to deliver easier, better, and faster.  We all benefit from Lean behavior and culture – improved collaboration, communication, exceptional team experiences, and learning.  Our Lean program has measurably impacted our sales, revenue, and most importantly all the people involved from owners, users, designers, builders, supply chain partners, and communities.  Lean is not a tool, task, or extra work. It is a mindset of continuous learning.  Come to this year’s virtual Congress and catch Lean Thinking for yourself.

If you want to learn more, check out https://www.lcicongress.org/2020/