Continuously implementing a strong lean culture in each division has always been a top priority for Southland. We find that our projects are more successful and our employees are safer. Although Southland’s culture has always had lean concepts embedded into it, there is always room for improvement. Because of this, here in the Southwest Division, we decided to take our lean journey to the next level.

Last year, our leadership team held a strategic planning session. During the session, we decided to increase focus on lean project delivery, as well as increase the efficiency of current operations.

We began to identify “Lean Leads” in each of our division’s major departments, including: operations/accounting, shops, field, mechanical design, preconstruction, constructability/BIM, and fire protection design. Prior to the meeting, we each read Two Second Lean by Paul Akers, which focuses on the concept of simply fixing what bugs us. Through a group discussion of the book, we began to discuss how to implement lean processes and simply eliminate waste within each department. The ideas involved various tactics – everything from different training opportunities to visual scheduling tools.

The outcome was that each Lean Lead would hold a meeting with their group or department to help eliminate waste and utilize lean tools. Instead of a one size fits all solution, each department took this as an opportunity to find a resolution that best fit their needs.

Now that the structure is in place, the Lean Leads meet monthly and send reports out on the different topics they have presented on, as well as ideas that have come from the sub groups. Having this monthly meeting allows everyone to share ideas and utilize trainings within the groups that they may not be involved in. More often than not, we have someone from a different department show up at a meeting or present a topic they would not normally have access to.

Overall the groups have helped to implement dozens of waste reducing activities and create new processes that help Southland continue to work together more efficiently and effectively.

How has your organization implemented lean changes? Let us know in the comments!


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