We help improve planning and performance so work gets done right the first time
Helping you succeed in your Lean journey
Unified Works—Lean Construction Coaching
Implementing Lean Construction with Pull and Flow
It’s been a long time coming.
Every industry has seen big productivity gains in the past 50 years—except ours. We tell ourselves, “That’s just the nature of the construction business”—there’s little we can do to avoid the delays and cost overruns. It’s the weather. The suppliers. The other guys who didn’t get their part done on time. Always something or someone else.
Everyone signed off on the project schedule, detailed down to every day’s work.
The money was there. It didn’t rain. The bricks and drywall got delivered.
And we still didn’t get it done on time. People waited for work and information, and work waited for people to do it. The project ended with finger-pointing, mistakes to fix, the money and energy gone.
Haven’t you always suspected there must be a better way?
It’s been a long time coming, but the principles and practices developed for efficiency in manufacturing and other industries are finally being applied to construction. It’s called lean construction, and its time is now.
Unified Works is a lean advisor, specializing in building better teams that build better buildings. We train and guide owners, designers, contractors, and vendors, making sure every effort counts toward eliminating waste and adhering to the values of internal and external customers. The method is the goal: continuous improvement and respect for all team members, while striving to do work right the first time.
We’ve all seen the problems. We’ve all heard the metrics.
- Since 1964, all other industries have more than doubled their productivity compared to ours.
- We complete on average about 54% of our planned work each week.
- We continue to have high incidence of lawsuits, claims, and worker injuries/deaths.
- Work gets done and then redone.
- Workers wait, then are gone to something else while work waits.
The problems are dramatic, and solving them requires real change. That’s where lean construction comes in. It’s a completely different way to think and behave — a focus on the fundamentals of integrated performance. All players, from executives to craft worker, genuinely understand their roles within the big picture, and their responsibilities for handing off work and information.
Lean focuses on two key pillars: eliminating waste and adding value. It’s rooted in openness, respect and accountability. But doing it right isn’t just invoking a mandate and the buzzwords. Everyone on the project buys in to these principles by understanding how they lead to specific actions and measurable outputs.
- All stakeholders—GCs, suppliers, trades, designers and the end customer—truly collaborate on planning and controlling production and the schedule. And all commit to it—with posted promises and a tactical understanding of how their part depends on others, and who is depending on them.
- Everyone involved in the work is accountable to everyone else—their responsibility is successful completion of the project, not just their isolated task.
Lean Construction is a team concept, but it’s not just lip service to “teamwork.” Let’s face it: the word “team” is thrown around a lot, but it rarely means much. When we invoke the “team” concept, we’re talking about everything that goes into true team building. Strategy and tactics are important, of course, but they’re the easy part. We see our role as the full range of a coach’s responsibilities — we integrate the technical planning aspects with the human side of developing trust, cooperation, and communication. All players buy into the letter and spirit of the approach.
“The will to win,” noted Bobby Knight, “is not enough; everyone wants to win. It takes the will to prepare to win.”
Lean construction isn’t rocket science – but it’s not easy either. It takes coached repetitions and complete commitment to the platform. There are tools, but rather than the toolbox, the focus is on changing culture and how we build and lead people, not just projects. It takes real dedication and effort toward the promise of improvement.
Our job is to build better teams that build better buildings so work gets done right the first time. Period. We train, coach and advise owners, users, designers, contractors, and vendors on methods for identifying and eliminating waste, and coordinating the conditions of satisfaction of all internal and external customers. It’s a fully integrated, not top-down, approach to getting everyone rapidly on the same page.
- We create unprecedented collaboration, proactive planning & a teamwork platform.
- We teach a system that rapidly unifies temporary teams into high performing units.
- We make your job safer.
- We stop the squandering and strengthen trust, commitments and relationships.
- We identify and remove constraints, maintaining project momentum.
- We get quick “buy-in” from the trades and other field personnel.
- We eliminate or greatly reduce rework and unnecessary activities.
- We have more fun and self fulfillment.
- We reduce uncertainty, level workflow and improve daily productivity.
- We roll up our sleeves and out-hustle anyone.
- We remove costs by removing waste.
- We cost less and provide more (we’re a lean enterprise ourselves).
Rich has been an invaluable partner in helping myself and our teams grow their Lean skill set. Rich’s personal and engaging approach are his greatest attributes relative to gaining buy-in to a collaborative and accountable approach. Further, Rich is an entertaining presenter and has a rare ability to captivate and win-over an audience. He is especially adept at connecting, training and leading field personnel. I look forward to many more years of working with Rich.Anthony Tysinger
Thank you for presenting Lean Construction concepts to my Purdue Construction Engineers. Your program was very well received, and was one of the highest rated sessions in the semester. Your enthusiasm and commitment to Lean Concepts made the class exciting and informative. You did a wonderful job of explaining the Lean strategy and its importance to the construction industry.
Rich Seiler is about as passionate towards lean construction as any human being can be. His background as a general contractor allows him to understand the practical side of the industry and relate just about any lean concept to real world problems. The best part of Rich is that he is a people person—he can relate to just about anyone. His energy is contagious and his commitment to lean, religious.Rob Warcup