Going lean in Boston

Boston’s lean improvement idea board supports the lean principal of continuous improvement and emphasizes that everyone has a voice.

USA Building’s Boston office has established a Lean Leadership Team to facilitate the adoption of lean principles throughout office and operational activities, and to overall foster a lean culture that’s focused on continuous improvement. The intent of the group – backed by General Manager Kerim Evin - is to improve productivity and client service so we gain a further competitive advantage.

The group was formed after the office’s executive leaders and key staff went through an intense 10-week lean training and immersion program led by a top local consultant. Today, the team consists of about a dozen people that span functional areas, including project management, field management, preconstruction, VDC and Skanska Integrated Solutions. They meet every other week to identify opportunities both with projects and general procedures that could benefit from lean thinking, which is focused on eliminating waste to provide maximum value to clients. Key to their efforts is assisting colleagues in understanding lean and a populating a SharePoint site with learning information, suggested readings and a calendar of local lean events.

Early initiatives have included:
• Using a Rapid Process Improvement Workshop to streamline the pursuit presentation process.
Supporting project lean efforts, including pull planning on our Watermark Seaport apartment tower and an office building in nearby Chelsea, Mass.
Promoting outside learning, such as through the local Lean Construction Institute community of practice, and visits to trade contractors that are already well along their lean journeys.
Establishing a lean improvement idea board, which is a 60-inch by 35-inch whiteboard located centrally on a preconstruction department wall. It supports the lean principal of continuous improvement and emphasizes that everyone has a voice. The idea board is an opportunity for all stakeholders to suggest new ideas, which are reviewed by the entire department to establish consensus as to the level of difficulty to achieve and the importance.

Additionally, in October the city of Boston is hosting the Lean Construction Institute’s 17th annual LCI Congress. At this, Skanska will have a significant presence, including as sponsor of the Associated General Contractors educational programs and leading several presentations. One of the presentations is on Skanska’s lean Journey, a collaboration between the Seattle and Boston offices describing Seattle’s implementation of lean practices and the sharing of best practices to assist Boston’s efforts. Members of the Boston leadership team will be leading tours – gemba walks – of competitors’ projects as well as hosting a gemba walk at our Watermark Seaport commercial development project.

Senior Vice President Joe Breen is the team’s executive sponsor, with the co-chairs being VDC Manager Jeremy Thibodeau and Preconstruction Director Steve Lappin.

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