You don't have time NOT to do this

September 7, 2011

Probably the simultaneously most understandable yet least valid excuse for not launching a Lean implementation is that your staff is overloaded and has no time. I hear it constantly so let's just say it, "No one has enough time or people today!" That's the nature of a housing recession. It’s a given.

Yet this should be one of your prime motivations for pursuing Lean. I can say this because I have seen it personally time and again the past 5 years, that at the end of a weeklong Lean implementation, so many of the myriad things that take extra time and sap energy from your people suddenly look eminently solvable.

Think about it. With good Lean process, you develop a prioritized list of action items sorted by potential savings and degree of difficulty. You have a clear gauge of the impact because you have solicited input from 20 or more of your best suppliers and trades, reviewed by a cross-functional team of your best people. Each item is something that needs to be done, but now you understand it better, who it impacts, what it’s costing, key information on how to attack it and how to measure the results. Now you have a plan to remedy the things that are stealing your time and burying your people.

Things now get easier, not harder. If your organization has a bent for execution at all, Lean process is the quickest route to getting unburied and freeing up your people ever devised. The very fact that your people do not have enough time to do what they should do now, may be the very best reason of all to get started on Lean today.

(Note: This is just one of 10 "Myths of Lean" in my September article in Professional Builder magazine)




Scott Sedam is president of TrueNorth Development, a consulting and training firm that works with builders to improve products, process, and profits. A senior contributing editor to Professional Builder, Scott has written award-winning commentary on all aspects of the business of home building and won the 2015 Jesse H. Neal Award, business journalism's most prestigious prize, for his commentary in Pro Builder. Scott invites you to join TrueNorth's Lean Building Group on LinkedIn and welcomes your feedback at or 248.446.1275.


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