As an owner of Collins Steel, a steel fabricator and erector supporting the construction industry in Edmonton, it was liberating to engage our people in the Mosaic Project. We have been working our way through implementing LEAN manufacturing principles in our company since 2009. It has been a challenge to serve the construction industry, as most players have a limited understanding of how LEAN principles can support construction project objectives. Primarily, when you throw a group of stakeholders together as a construction team under the ‘design, bid, build strategy,’ you limit the potential of that group dramatically because of the absence of jointly developed and validated targets.
Our experience with the Mosaic Project was a huge win for the project management team we used to support the project. We were selected as a partner based on a mix of criteria, which considered our competency and values as an organization. Although cost was an element of the decision making process, I believe that values alignment was the determining factor. When your project team knows and understands that the criteria for selection was the reputation of your organization, instant motivation is put in place, as they want to honour the project and the owner with nothing short of excellence in execution.
Our people were excited to contribute to design from the beginning of the project. The process averts an acrimonious environment when you are invited at project conception. In a traditional design process, “value engineering” can be received as an indictment against what a consultant has put forth. When you are on the design team, your voice is received and appreciated. You can add value to the project at the most crucial time, with the opportunity for all stakeholders to weigh in on the cost benefit of all alternatives. It is an encouraging experience to avoid wasteful activities such as RFI’s, change orders, and site instructions.
It was really important that leadership and training was provided on this project. It emphasized the importance of planning and investing the time at the beginning of the project, and how it dividends the project outcome. The project experience for our people was the single most important reinforcement to our belief that LEAN principles and the IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) Contract Framework work seamlessly to provide best possible project outcomes.
What was most rewarding to see was that our team had fun in construction; something that has been lacking for a long time. When you have fun at work, the quality of your contribution level goes up, and when that happens, everybody wins.