WITH LEAN CONSTRUCTION FIT FOR THE FUTURE
Construction company of the year, growth champion, state prize for quality, champion of the future, etc. – there has definitely not been any other construction company in Germany that has come even close to winning as many awards over the last few years. Yet Matthias Krieger, owner of the Krieger + Schramm Group, is not resting on the laurels of the past. The former top athlete, now an author and speaker, is set on pushing things forward and designing the future. His goal is to motivate people and companies to take value-oriented and sustainable action.
For several years, he has been pushing the topic of Lean Management at his company.
“These steps will get us into shape for the future. The heart of the matter is lean construction, because ultimately we earn our money at the construction sites.”
However, if you have any idea about how the day-to-day is at large construction sites, you know just how difficult it is to convince the numerous trade groups to actively contribute to the change process. It all started at Krieger + Schramm in early 2017 with a pilot project in Wiesbaden, Germany.
LEAN CONSTRUCTION – THE THREE CORE ELEMENTS
1. Detailed planning from the very beginning
Lean construction thrives on perfect planning. We start off by creating an ideal, lean project development process with corresponding milestones and task-packages. Planning is assigned to the smallest detail to cycle control for the construction process. “The first step may be the greatest challenge”, says Vivian Tarara, Project Manager at Krieger + Schramm. “Actually, the priorities are completely different. At the same time, work is in progress at construction sites, where your complete attention is required, and you’re being asked to deal with a project that is not scheduled to start until next year.”
However, lean construction only works with early planning. On the other hand, afterwards everything will progress trouble-free for the most part. An accurate cycle plan for developing the condos is the basis – broken down by weeks and days up until the date of completion. “Here, we go deep into the construction site with our thoughts, focusing well in advance on the potential obstacles we might face and how to deal with them – each step fully team-oriented while working collaboratively with all parties concerned”, says the Project Manager.
2. Lean Project Execution in all Areas
Each trade group is cycled so that it has the freedom to build and can complete the work in the pre-defined period of time. If a painter arrives at the construction site, he can start right away and work alone in his area with no disruptions. Because the drywall contractor completed the cycle section and was approved by the painter last week.
3. Good and easy-to-understand communication
A large and weather-resistant cycle board can be found at each Krieger + Schramm construction site. It is the basis for the Shop Floor Management, which was also recently introduced. In the early morning hours, a 15-minute meeting is held in front of it with the most important trade groups that interface each other. If the installer has a problem, the drywall contractor will be standing right next to him and together they will be able to find a pragmatic solution fast. “Problems are no longer only communicated and worked out with the Construction Manager, but the various trade groups can communicate among themselves, and that saves a lot of time”,
says Construction Manager Matthias Gorus.
Every construction partner can see what they need to do in each cycle area on the cycle board based on a card system. At Krieger + Schramm, the tasks are not communicated in writing, but instead using color cards with visualized work steps. This way, even those construction partners with no German language skills can easily work with the board. In addition, for the most part information is communicated at Krieger + Schramm construction sites at the same time. How-ever, in the meantime, the company has also gained a lot of experience with Shop Floor Management and is now taking the next step: a digital solution provides all parties concerned the information they need in real time. For example, even the Technical Managing Director has the capability to view the current status of projects at the company headquarters at any time.
THESE STEPS WILL GET US INTO SHAPE FOR THE FUTURE. THE HEART OF THE MATTER IS LEAN CONSTRUCTION, BECAUSE ULTIMATELY WE EARN OUR MONEY AT THE CONSTRUCTION SITES.
ANDRÉ SCHMIDT, LEAN- UND PROZESSMANAGER
We have found quite a few less processing errors at our con-struction sites where the lean construction culture is practiced. And even where a problem might crop up, we can respond much more quickly. This allows us to save time and also costs, of course.