Now is the time for adoption: 4 benefits to Lean Construction

Hana Block

benefits of lean construction

Lean construction has become a hot buzzword in the industry recently. Because of that, today’s construction professionals are constantly looking for new ways to “get lean”.

Lean construction in a nutshell means using different techniques and tools to maximise a project’s productivity. It continuously looks at ways to get rid of waste and inefficiencies to achieve better quality and more profitable projects.

Lean construction practices have been used since the late 1990s, although they are still far from the dominant approach to building and design. However, this could be a missed opportunity, because there are several significant benefits of lean construction.

Below we’ve outlined 4 of them.

1. Adopting lean construction leads to a decrease in waste

It’s reported that annual construction waste is expected to reach 2.2 billion tons globally by 2025.

Lean Construction methodologies aim to decrease waste in the planning stages. Instead of the more traditional post-planning construction services that provide waste removal and disposal solutions.

Not only do Lean companies reduce material waste, they also successfully eliminate wasted time and labour by providing efficient delivery and use of materials. Therefore, making their internal business processes stronger and more beneficial to the environment.

The global community has grown increasingly more environmentally conscious in every aspect of life. And we’re seeing growing trends of lean construction adoption in the industry – as more construction companies are undergoing efforts to reduce their carbon footprints.

2. Becoming lean helps you meet industry demands

The construction business is booming. By working with a company, or being the company that utilizes Lean techniques, can ensure that you can meet the growing demands of today’s market. 

Lean-based companies focus on value and how to fulfil the demands of the job as efficiently as possible. This means by going lean you can offer a better service to your clients while at the same time improving your internal construction practices.

And in terms of industry demand, we’re seeing that green and smart construction industry is on the rise in Australia. The companies that are Lean (and who are winning more work) will be the one’s keeping their workers’ skills and knowledge up to date regarding advances in both sustainable building practices and the use of smart technologies.

3. Building relationships are the #1 priority 

A big goal in lean construction is to achieve a continuous workflow that is reliable and consistent. 

Going lean places the highest importance on being an “integrated process” in which every part of the construction supply chain must be committed to working together to avoid interruptions. Lean companies are able to identify the value of a fully connected supply chain and understand clear communication between all parties is essential to achieving project flow. 

Lean companies use the right digital tools and methods to enable project-wide visibility and communication.  Cloud-based platforms like Matrak allow contractors to easily share project information and progress update reports with clients and other stakeholders. Facilitating regular communication and collaboration like this helps to boost overall client satisfaction.

4. Lean ensures you work smarter, not harder

Lean construction recognizes creating reliable workflows depends on work being released based on downstream demand. And that is best done by those performing the work, often subcontractors. By following the value stream and working backwards through the production system, Lean construction establishes a pull-based system rather than the traditional push-based system. 

Inventory is considered one of the biggest wastes in any production system. In a push-based supply chain, materials and tasks are pushed through the supply chain from top down. This means that production happens based on demand forecasts. Which often leads to materials being delivered to site when they aren’t needed. 

Lean construction utilises digital tools, like a material tracking system, to create a pull-based supply chain, where procurement, production, and distribution of materials and tasks are demand-driven rather than based on predictions. 

This allows for Just-in-time delivery and manufacturing where products are created at the time that they are needed and in just the quantities needed. It further enables subcontractors to offer their clients a better service, while cutting out costs and wastes that can impact project completion. 

Lean construction practices have endless potential benefits. However, to get the most from the concept, companies need to invest in making changes to how they work. And although a challenge, Lean construction comes with the promise of significant waste reduction and improvements in efficiency that makes it a concept worth investigating.

About Matrak

Matrak was founded in 2017 and provides innovative mobile-first end to end supply chain tracking software solutions to the construction industry. Our app is available on all iOS, Android and Windows devices and has helped more than 157 projects in over 5 countries to enable the power of supply chain transparency.

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