Creating value

Go home                                                                                                                                                      Go to lean transformation

There three types of activities in any product´s transformation. It doesn’t matter if we consider construction, manufacturing or another field.

1. Processes that add value to the final product

2. Processes that don´t add value to the final product

3. Processes or tasks that don’t add value but they are necessary. We call these support activities.

One of the goals of lean is erradicate waste (muda). It could be summarize as the continuous effort to employ time and resources in value and support tasks, trying to minimize the remainder of activities. Another definition is to optimize the tasks that don’t create flow.

If we consider the project as the product to create value, our efforts will be to reduce lead time, reduce cost and deliver quality. Its much better to consider the project as a complex system. We should consider the definition of value according to the different stakeholders of the project: owner, designer, final users, contractor, subcontractor, etc and define a methodology to accomplish the common values established at the beginning of the project. Everyone will get benefit of this more collaborative approach. It’s the best strategy to long term.

There are seven types of waste in lean management. They were developed by Taichi Ohno, a former engineer of Toyota.

1. Transportation of materials and products

2. Inventory

3. Motion of people, parts or machines

4. Waiting

5. Over-processing. A typical example is the amount of administrative control

6. Over-production

7. Defects

A preliminary approach to reduce waste on a site could be:

·         Offsite processes

·         Reducing transport

·         Repetition of tasks. Do it right first time

·         Waiting time in design and execution phase

·         Meetings that don’t add value

·         Too much technical work: drawings, calculations, quantities. Doing only what you need.

·         Reducing store materials

·         Too much resources: machines and people

·         Activities that don’t create flow

·         Inefficient execution procedures 


These ideas could be called “the ten waste site rules”.But the greatest waste is to do a project with overcosting and a lead time that exceeds our expectations.

Value and waste go together with a Lean approach. We need to define a common value and a continuous effort to minimize waste.

Go home                                                                                                                                                      Go to lean transformation