Lean Construction – Efficiency AND Efficacy

iStock_000004904224MediumLean Construction – Efficiency AND Efficacy

Newton’s second law of motion states that ‘A body will stay at rest or in a constant line of motion until a resultant force acts upon it’, i.e. force applied to a mass will change its speed and / or direction.

In other words, if you want to get something accelerating in a particular direction, then the size of the force you apply, the time in which you spend applying that force and importantly the direction of that force will determine the future direction of the ‘body’.

Well Newton’s second law could have been written to apply to Lean Transformation! For effective continuous improvement and waste elimination, it is not merely about how hard you work at it, but as importantly, where that effort is applied. A very common problem, when considering lean construction is to concentrate on making things as efficient as possible i.e. ability to do something well without a waste of time or money. This can on many occasions lead to huge efforts to making a wasteful process more efficient.

Some times, more effort and time needs to be allocated to systems and root cause analysis to achieve overall efficacy i.e. effectiveness for long term and sustainable improvements. With this in mind, the diagnostics phase of any improvement projects should not be rushed, foreshorten, bodged or compromised; this is a real risk in an Industry that is always eager to get to the “doing” bit.

Without the science and giving more thought to efficacy of efforts invested, there is a good chance that the industry will remain in the “doing” mode making recurring issues more tolerable.

Careful thought given to identifying the key issues, then application of targeted improvements, can be far more efficacious; even a large oil tanker with a small force applied in the right direction will eventually change course!