Lean Construction Methodology: Can SaaS And Mobile Help Advance Lean Delivery Methods?
Lean construction is gaining momentum and native cloud mobile applications are key components to success.
According to the Lean Construction Institute, construction labor efficiency and productivity has decreased, while all other non-farming labor efficiency has doubled or more since the 1960s.¹ Why is that? It has a lot to do with making big strides and gains when it comes to movement, time, and human potential. But, it also has a lot to do with technology and how it’s used.
When the dot com era boomed in the 1990’s (and subsequently bubbled then recovered), it boomed because the immense potential and freedom it promised. For a more recent example, see the crazy-rapid growth (and subsequent bubble) of Bitcoin. Both of these industries have recovered, so bubbling isn’t the point here, but they ultimately recovered because they had to discover their inefficiencies the hard way. Today, the core structure of these industries provide inherent, almost unlivable without, value because they were able to adapt, pivot and regroup in a Lean way.
At Bangert, we see first-hand why taking a Lean approach in the construction industry can be a difficult challenge for most companies, but it doesn’t have to be. We see a staggering number of users still making use of the trusty old excel sheet and outdated back office technologies. These inherently create inefficiency, redundancy, and waste, not to mention the wasted human potential. They also lead to hacked together solutions, commonly invented by a single person, that don’t work as well as you think they do. So why the resistance to change? It’s a matter of perception vs. reality. The reasons we most commonly hear are: “it has to cost way too much”, “it’s too much for my staff”, “boy, this just isn’t a good time.” None of these objections are good reasons to hold your company back.
From a delivery standpoint, mobile cloud technology bridges the gap between all three of the Lean Construction Institute’s core: wasted time, wasted movement, and wasted human potential. The “hacks” we talked about in the previous paragraph waterfall down to the individual level … and that’s where it can become toxic. With mobile cloud tech you avoid this. Time-intensive and discoordinated comms become a thing of the past, learning curves are decreased, and adoption becomes a most-loved, not a most-hated, process. Why? Because it’s natively familiar. Mobile cloud platforms, like Acumatica Construction Edition, are designed to be visual and utilize workflows that people already know. Most importantly, the information your team needs to go Lean is in their hands 24/7 and in real-time. Data is king when it comes to Lean, if your team can’t efficiently access that data, how can you expect them to be successful?
Adoption of new technology isn’t the complete answer to going Lean, but it’s a good place to start or finish. Implementing new tech used to be expensive and time-intensive, but not so anymore. With the advent of the SaaS (essentially a subscription) model, software and platforms that were once uneconomical to produce or acquire have become manageable assets. What’s more, tech partners like Bangert, Inc. continue to make massive improvements on the implementation and support process – with Lean in mind. We also take a not-one-size-fits-all approach, meaning you aren’t being sold on a siloed solution. The Bangert team takes time to understand your goals and what your team needs most – we are your Lean champions.