Lean Construction Resources

As our construction industry becomes more open to adopting collaborative and lean practices, we are going to see more requests for knowledge and training on the subjects of target value delivery, last planner system, choosing by advantage, A3 thinking etc. Where will those requests for knowledge come from? If the employer takes on the task of offering training courses and material, then employees will benefit by having a more defined path to learning. On the other hand, employees may be motivated to seek out resources and materials to better their methods of project delivery simply to make their teams more efficient.

Whatever drives your lean journey, rest assure that the resources and materials are out there to help you learn more. Beware of broad subject internet searches, because search results often return a wealth of information. It can be hard to determine what information is really valuable. Blog sites, such as the Lean Construction Blog, offer helpful writings from experienced users. I find this site helpful when searching for new perspectives on lean practices. If you are new to lean practices, books like 2 second lean by Paul Akers is a great starting point. Dean Reed will soon be releasing a new book about Integrated Project Delivery (IPD). Also, attending your local LCI community of practice events can help inspire your lean journey.

For those of you who are familiar with some aspects of lean, becoming a member of LCI will unlock valuable information regarding best practices and industry trends. The LCI has recently published a new book with tips on coaching lean, culture change, and implementation steps. More advanced users of lean practices will find the white papers and research documents helpful in the LCI’s knowledge library.

Several organizations and individuals often present at seminars and conferences. Attending these can give you or your employees many ideas, lessons learned, and training associated with lean practices. LCI Congress, International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC), and Lean Enterprise Institute all offer great national events. Lasting anywhere from 1 to 4 days, individuals can gain knowledge to help drive lean transformations.

Consultants and coaches are another alternative for those seeking guidance on lean implementation. High level lean transformation is very difficult to sustain without the help of a coach to keep your teams focus on the goal. Beware of those consultants who over promise and under deliver. Do your research and interview a few folks before selecting someone. Make sure they have experience in your industry, validate their promises with metrics, and understand your culture and goals.

One industry trend shows companies hiring and training in-house support for lean implementation. They are offering training workshops and simulations that allow employees to experience the benefits of the lean tools and processes. Using lean committees is another popular way that companies are taking advantage of lean thinkers to support continuous improvement and lean implementation. Committees are often successful because they provide groups of people who can test and validate several lean methods. By doing this, the company’s leadership will have enough data to decide which lean methods should be incorporated into the organization's best practices.

If you find yourself wondering where to start your lean journey, try some of the resources mentioned in this post. My advice to those who want to learn is: “Find another colleague to partner with, discuss each other’s pain points of the construction industry, and ask what can we do to make this better?”

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