Handbook of Production Improvement Methods

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Appendix of Method One-Page Handouts

Rosendin Electric – Case Study

The successful adoption of lean into Rosendin’s company culture and implementation into operations appears to stem from two primary sources. First, the similarity of lean principles with Rosendin’s core values creates a natural alignment. The alignment allows the use of lean methods and techniques to be easily grounded in the way Rosendin does business, treats people, and makes money. Many elements are needed to sustain that success, but the grounding of the principles in Rosendin’s core values provides the guidance for all the company personnel to adopt the behaviors. The second key to success lies in Rosendin’s unbundling of the often-complex methods and techniques to simple and easily understood concepts.

KHS&S – Case Study

KHS&S has been successful in their deployment of lean through a balance of ongoing, disciplined training in lean fundamentals and core methods for field operations, with the development of a lean culture that not only empowers but encourages all employees to strive for improvement and innovation. By defining key lean principles and methods in their Lean House and designing a training curriculum correlated to each of these concepts, they provide a platform to spread their lean culture to the entire organization. Under this mindset, their lean core values, including communication and collaboration, respect for people, continuous improvement, and leadership, are embedded in all their divisions and departments, from the field personnel and project management to IT and Payroll.

Baker Concrete – Case Study

Baker has been successful in its deployment of lean through a balance of its core values with lean principles. Combining this cultural fit with ongoing, disciplined training in fundamentals for their operations, not only empowers employees but encourages them to strive for improvement in their careers. By defining key processes in their Baker 3.0 Operational Model, Baker has established a platform to spread their best practices as the standard operations. Through this standardization, they are able to embody their core values in their standards and processes. This results in transparent procedures, better communication, and empowerment of the workforce. However, the important feature is that Baker strives hard to balance standardization and continuous improvement. Numerous examples of these techniques were observed in their office and job site, such as detailed weekly work plans.

Lighthouse Electric Company – Case Study

The continuous improvement approach at Lighthouse is centralized around a two-pronged strategy that focuses on their work packaging process and the supporting rapid deployment of technology. The well-defined process supported through standard operating procedures that are regularly referenced and updated offers a consistent and reliable procedure for complex electrical construction work.

Thompson Electric Company – Case Study

The pursuit of continuous improvement with a parallel valuing of people seemed to be instilled in the essence of Thompson Electric Company (TEC). Thompson has instilled and standardized this in their approach to projects, under their self-titled “Thompson Production Management.” Their approach streamlines their project management efforts through internally developed software tools that streamline the planning, structuring, prefabrication, and tracking of in-progress work. Paralleling this efficiency is a strong value for people, both on the customers they serve and their employees and field workforce. Their strong investment in training and mentoring shows through the retention and promotion of the apprentices that have moved through their leadership training into field or project leadership within the firm. Beyond thoughtful approaches, Thompson emphasizes the use of prefabrication to reduce the uncertainties of projects, using standard overhead racks and in-wall assemblies to reduce the planning effort of foreman when beginning new projects, allowing them to put more effort and thought into the unusual project aspects of any given project. Thompson is continuing to move forward while working to maintain standards and consistency across its three primary locations and fabrication facilities.

Parsons Electric Company – Case Study

The adoption of lean at Parsons is strongly apparent. Parsons has developed a mentoring and coaching approach to building continuous improvement into the company’s culture. Building upon a strong core of training developed in-house, the principles are embedded in a way that makes them apparent and strongly emphasized, while keeping them simple and clear to those that use them. Everyone within the company is expected to be able to explain why they are doing their work and how it relates to value for their customers. Those values are translated into setting practical goals and checking each week, or at the appropriate interval, to assess if you are meeting your goal and fulfilling your duties to your customer and your team. The culture is further enhanced by the high value placed on the craft workforce Parsons engages in their projects. Building relationships with craft, internal teams, and external partners allows Parsons to build trust. Still, that trust is complemented by strong technical planning and execution that justifies the trust they create. The training and mentoring are further embodied in the ongoing pursuit of excellence in the continuous improvement processes. Training everyone in methods from process planning and 5S to takt time provides a rich and consistent toolset that people are empowered and encouraged to use throughout the company.

A Comparative Analysis of Continuous Improvement Approaches Among Trade Contractors

Continuous improvement methods are increasingly adopted in the execution of construction projects, with several general contracting companies applying a wide variety in their organizations. However, the adoption of these methods by trade contractors is lagging. To fill this gap, the current study compares how trade contractors adopt and sustain continuous improvement processes, training, and methods, based upon a framework of continuous improvement principles in their organizations. For this purpose, seven case studies were selected from successful adopters among trade contractor companies. These cases illustrate how a trade contractor can employ continuous improvement initiatives to improve their operations and construction processes. The paper presents a comparative analysis of the approaches each contractor applies in its organization to present common elements of successful contractors and highlight some variations among the firms. By highlighting similarities and differences in how each pursues their methods and improvement process, the path to achieving continuous improvement for the trade contractor community can be more clearly identified.

Southland Industries – Case Study

Southland’s operations stand out due to their in-house design and engineering capabilities, which allows them to initiate a value-focused process from the design phase. By capitalizing on the vertical integration of their design, fabrication, construction, and operational departments, Southland is able to embed a culture of improvement in all aspects of their processes. To facilitate this approach, Southland has established shop facilities in or near their offices, which enable their engineers to actively engage in both the constructability and operational needs of their designs, as well as direct involvement in the prefabrication process. This involvement allows for built-in quality to be considered in the shop while also maximizing their off-site fabrication, resulting in improved safety, faster on-site assembly, and reduced waste across the whole project lifecycle. Southland’s success extends from the continuous improvement mindset built-in to their operations. By engraining cross-training and design for manufacturing as core principles, the internal understanding of how Southland contributes to the value stream of a given project is at the forefront of their efforts. This approach is supported by their strong focus on process improvement, which extends beyond the typical construction emphasis on field production and permeates all aspects, from safety to collaborative design. By implementing this approach across their operations, Southland has been able to consistently deliver reliable, high-quality, high-value projects to their clients.