In 2014, JBH’s Arizona operation was forever changed by what we have learned under a new Integrated Project Delivery contract. This type of project lends itself to being innovative by trying new things to improve project results. One simple request from our customer to participate in an experiment started an avalanche of learning and journey of continuous improvement for us. They challenged us to participate in an experiment that incorporated the Plan-Do-Check-Act (aka the Deming cycle) to our everyday construction operations. It was also coupled with a motion study where one of our crews were watched every day, all day for 3 weeks (not an easy thing!).
JBH AZ field leadership dedicates time to develop skills based on Integrated Project Delivery and Lean Construction principles.The results of this experiment were completely unexpected. We found that we could use the PDCA cycle to help identify opportunities for continuous improvement, no matter how big or small. This was our introduction to lean principles. We developed and implemented a Daily Crew Plan where the foreman communicates the plan and goals for the day, the crew executes to the plan (does), comes together at the end of the day to check the plan and then acts on any improvements they identified during the day (especially things that were unexpected and prevented us from achieving the plan). We have collected and implemented numerous time saving improvements by engaging our best resource, our people.
Another tenant to becoming lean is investing in and growing your people. As part of this effort we started by conducting a weekly foreman training which includes a study-action team where we read and discuss books that make an impact on their leadership skills as well as motivating and empowering their crews. Additionally, JBH has also become a member of the Lean Construction Institute.
By all accounts the team has won, the project was safe, built with extreme high quality, schedules were met at an unprecedented level and last but certainly not least the teams were profitable! Our customer is now promoting a worldwide implementation of this contract delivery type based on the success and results of the AZ experience. We have also been chosen to be one of our customers 2 preferred piping contractors and has lead to two more IPD contracts.