If you’re working in the construction industry, it’s almost certain you’ve heard of lean planning. It’s by far one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to run construction projects of any size.
Studies have shown that projects using lean planning are 70% more likely to come in under budget and 200% more likely to end ahead of schedule.
But too many people in the industry aren’t leveraging this incredible planning system. Or, if they are, they’re not doing it efficiently. Pull planning with sticky notes is the standard practice, but it’s also outdated and inefficient. Once written out on sticky notes, pulls then have to be manually entered into the schedule – leaving room for input errors and wasting valuable time. Managing pulls in hard copy also doesn’t allow for the inevitable schedule changes and resulting adjustments to dependencies.
It’s not unusual for folks to feel daunted by the prospect of going digital. Many software solutions are expensive, complicated and not particularly user-friendly. Additionally, many digital tools only cover one aspect of the lean planning process. Trying to pull together data from multiple applications without a central hub inevitably results in confusion and miscommunication.
But here’s the good news: you don’t need complicated technology to save time, money and start running lean projects on your job sites.
QLean is a pull planning software that’s actionable, realistic, and project-based. It’s also a fraction of the cost of other programs. Built with the no code platform, Quickbase, QLean allows users to collaborate in real time, integrate data from multiple sources (such as Procore, P6, MS Project, and more), and create workflows that make sense.
Here are just some of the problems that digital lean planning with QLean will help solve:
Running behind schedule is a rampant problem in the construction industry. According to KPMG, nearly 75% of projects fail to come within 10% of their original deadlines. These days, it’s basically expected that construction projects won’t actually meet their deadlines. But the financial burden of those missed deadlines often falls to GCs. Many GCs report carrying overtime costs on at least 75% of their projects!
But it doesn’t have to be that way. With lean planning and, more importantly, digital lean planning, you can keep your schedule up to date in real time! With a user-friendly mobile app, QLean allows users to make updates from the field and sync directly with your master schedule. Contractors can easily log in to view their schedule, or you can create workflows that send emails to notify the appropriate teams of schedule changes.
Sticking to Budget
Coming in on budget is also a huge challenge for most construction projects. Similar to missing deadlines, only 31% of projects come within 10% of their original budgets! Budget overruns can cost anywhere from thousands of dollars to numbers in the billions on major projects. That kind of shortfall can put companies out of business at worst, and often results in contentious litigation. Even if a failure to come in on budget doesn't entirely sink your ship, it's a huge waste of money that can be avoided. Additionally, an inability to accurately budget projects undermines your credibility with clients.
QLean allows you to coordinate effectively with all trades and subcontractors, manage bids and keep your schedule aligned with the allocated budget. Lean planning ensures the most efficient and cost-effective approach to managing resources.
Collaboration is another huge challenge for construction managers. Two-thirds of trade partners report bad schedule management as a key cause of poor productivity, and more than that, construction professionals often spend more than a third of their time (14 hours/week) on non-productive tasks.
With so many moving parts on a given project, it’s all too easy for miscommunication to slow things down and gum up the works. Many (avoidable) issues can negatively impact productivity on job sites: inefficient stacking of trades, joint occupancy on site, poor allocation of manpower or resources, logistics and site access, etc.
Virtual pull planning with QLean offers continuous collaboration and execution through the lifespan of a project – ensuring effective communication, scheduling and productivity.
Keeping Job Sites Safe
The most important problem that lean planning can help solve is job site safety. In 2021, nearly 20% of all workplace deaths in the United States occurred in the construction industry. These incidents are tragic and all-too-often avoidable.
The beautiful thing about QLean and its connection with Quickbase is the way that safety checks can be integrated throughout every step of the process – from planning to boots on the ground. With a customizable safety dashboard, you can store safety observations, track incidents, and create pre-task safety plans for all of your crews.
Via their mobile app, crew members can walk through specific safety protocols and questions for their work plan on a given day. This works as a huge risk mitigation tool built off tasks created in the lean planning process. And it helps ensure that everyone on-site gets home at the end of the day.
Learn How QLean Can Work for You
At VeilSun, we’ve been building applications for the construction industry for more than 17 years. QLean is fully customizable, allowing you to create a perfectly optimized lean schedule and then build project management features to fit your project’s needs.
We partner with our clients to assess your specific needs and set up an end-to-end solution to radically improve your processes. It’s user-friendly and free of the hard and fast rules that make implementation a nightmare.
Schedule a free consultation with one of our solution architects today to talk about the possibilities for your projects.