Muhammad Ali - Pebble in the Shoe

Construction contracting is largely a game of operational excellence.

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There are many large changes on the horizon from more integrated project delivery methods to construction technology to the increased M&A activity in the industry.  All being compounded by labor shortages over the next 15 years.  

Quote: It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. Muhammad Ali

Between all these massive changes going on and the fires of daily operations it is easy for leaders and their teams to overlook the small opportunities for improvement every day.  

Construction is a very labor-intensive business with many tasks being repeated anywhere from 10-100+ cycles per day.  Saving just a few seconds per cycle adds up to huge savings over the course of a few years if you make it part of the culture - a daily habit.

Also consider the morale impact of people having to fight many small battles every day.  Think about going on a hike up a tough mountain. Now think about doing this same hike with swarms of mosquitoes around you the whole time.  

In the lean body of knowledge the 5S process creates these habits.

The book 2 Second Lean does a great job describing how to create this culture.  It’s a very quick read and available in both English and Spanish with quantity discounts.




Lean Principle - 8 Categories of Waste
The first step in improving labor productivity in construction is improving everyone’s ability to see the waste. Waste can then be broken down into 8 major categories. Like colors these are often interrelated.
Evolution of Project Delivery Methods
Project delivery methods for contractors will become increasingly more integrated from project owner through all key parts of the supply chain, which is a return to models used in the early 1900s with some modernization improvements.
Continuous Improvement: Plan, Do, Check, and Act (PDCA)
Improving productivity in construction is exceptionally challenging. It must be embraced as a journey and not a destination. It must be made into a game so that people clearly see what winning looks like and fall in love with the process.