Friday, May 24, 2013

The Transferral of Lean from Manufacturing to Construction: a case study

Lean Construction worked for CivilPlus resulting in a transformation at Townsville-based business that was proof that Lean Manufacturing principles do not just help manufacturers – they can assist construction companies, too.

After completing a range of Lean Manufacturing programs, the civil construction company went on to successfully introduce 5S housekeeping in its workshops and onsite trailers.

Even before it was introduced to Lean Manufacturing (or Lean Construction) principles, CivilPlus was close to world class standard.

Director Scott Ironside and co-director Richard Lamb, both of whom are Townsville born and bred, established CivilPlus in 2004. “We have gone from three employees to 45 in nine years,” Ironside said. The company operates from two 400m2 workshops in the Townsville suburb of Garbutt and has six trailers that go to project sites.

CivilPlus provides civil and marine infrastructure services, such as pipeline installation; pavement, dam and bridge works; and marine construction, including pontoons and wharfs. The company’s projects are valued from $20,000 to $10 million, and most clients are within a 400km radius of Townsville.

CivilPlus was first introduced to Lean Manufacturing through the Queensland Nickel Supply Chain Project, which was developed in 2010 to help Yabulu Refinery operator Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd increase its supply chain’s responsiveness and capabilities.

Twenty manufacturers, including CivilPlus, participated in various stages of the project, which identified the main inhibitors to supply chain performance and how to overcome them.

“We landed a couple of big jobs while we took part in the supply chain project, so it was worthwhile working with QMI Solutions,” Ironside said. The company had just relocated its premises, so it was a good opportunity to make improvements.

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