Thursday, February 25, 2010

Great Expectations for Lean Construction in DFW

Today, I was fortunate enough to attend a kick-off meeting for the new Dallas-Ft. Worth chapter of the Lean Construction Institute. The meeting, which was hosted by Texo and facilitated by Cynthia Tsao from LCI headquarters, was an excellent opportunity for us participants to brainstorm and identify priorities for the chapter moving forward. I was truly impressed with the brainpower, experience, and boldness in the room today. I was equally impressed with the quality of ideas and priorities that were identified during our meeting.

For me, three items stood out as the most critical items to focus on, at least during the first year or so of the chapter's existence. In no particular order:
  1. Developing internal knowledge and competency of Lean Construction principles. This process can be initiated through education and training, although true learning ultimately comes from doing. LCI and its friends have the ability to provide this, and the construction folks in DFW want and need it. Developing that common vocabulary, understanding the thought process behind Lean, and getting some hands-on practice with everyday Lean tools are all valuable objectives for the DFW Chapter.
  2. Engaging all construction-industry stakeholders. The expectation is that the architects, engineers, and construction folks will probably join in on the fun, but that's not enough. The customers of the A-E-C industry (building owners, building operators, developers, etc.) must also be engaged. So much of lean construction depends on the level of commitment and cooperation of our customers because of the way construction contracts are typically structured. Without the support of our customers, establishing a better approach to construction will be so much more difficult. One way to begin gaining support for lean construction is by demonstrating how it actually reduces risk for the customer (more on this in a future blog post).
  3. Creating the buzz. Dallas-Ft. Worth is such a great capital of business for the U.S. and the world. So many talented people, so many successful companies, so many industries, and so much pride! The DFW Chapter of LCI needs to take advantage of this by creating a buzz about lean construction. This will have to happen on many fronts, one of which should be through online social media. With plenty of talented people willing to contribute value-added content, and a wide range of platforms for delivering this content to the people that value it, there's no reason why we can't build a tribe of people who are passionate about lean construction in DFW. Once we have a tribe of passionate people spreading the word about lean construction, we have a chance at really opening it up to the mainstream construction industry.
There are numerous other focus areas that are all important. These are just the ones that really stood out to me after listening to the discussions and presentations at the meeting today.

I'm just thrilled to be involved at such an early stage of the DFW Chapter. I see limitless potential in this group, and have no doubt that we will improve the construction industry in North Texas. This will not happen over night, but in true Lean fashion, it will happen through continuous improvement over time. Today's meeting was a great first step.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Great to have your considerable knowledge, skills, and energy behind this new LCI chapter, Michael! Thanks for your participation.