Lean Construction

Messer uses Lean Construction - a scheduling and management method that increases the reliability of construction processes. We use Lean Construction because it maximizes value and minimizes waste for our clients. Using Lean, our craft labor productivity has increased by an average of 28%.

With Lean Construction techniques, we can achieve the following goals:

Elimination of Bottlenecks - By focusing on the overall goal of a project, rather than the speed of individual activities, Lean Construction eliminates the bottlenecks that occur in traditional construction.

Decentralization of Decision-making - With Lean Construction, those closest to the work are authorized and encouraged to make decisions and plan activities, thus increasing reliability in the schedule.

Creation of a Team-based Schedule - At the outset of the project, subcontractors gather together and agree to deadlines to enable the reliable release of work from one subcontractor to another. Each becomes accountable to the owner, fellow subcontractors and Messer.

One important tool in Lean Construction is known as the Last Planner System. The Last Planner System features many benefits, such as the Reverse Phase Schedule, that can’t be found in traditional construction.

With a Reverse Phase Schedule (RPS), subcontractors plan the project starting with the last work activity and work backwards. This ensures all contractors consider what work must be done prior to any scheduled activity, and ensures adequate durations are in place for late activities. Possible constraints are identified early in the planning process, so solutions can be found quickly and efficiently, thus maximizing value. Subcontractor foremen present a Weekly Work Plan of the work they will be doing in the upcoming week. This plan is checked against an additional portion of the project RPS - the Six Week Look Ahead - to ensure they match. Once the week is complete, a calculation is made of what work was actually accomplished, the Percent Plan Complete. This is done to identify trends so future planning and productivity may be improved.

When production planning becomes reliable and people fulfill their commitments, performance and workflow are improved, uncertainty is removed and the entire project benefits.

Specific Project Example:

Messer built three towers at Cincinnati Financial Corporation during the last 25 years. The last tower built was a 480,000sf, $102 million project similar to the previous buildings. This tower was completed using Lean techniques. The concrete frame productivity was 27% higher on this project than the previous two projects that had not used Lean. Furthermore, the Lean productivity was measured to be 20% higher than industry standard. The project finished four months early and three percent under budget.