In-Plant Offices – A New Concept to Construct Modular Offices

Many companies put on hold various construction projects as they are quite expensive and time consuming. A company which is looking to expand the office in the current place will put the plan on hold. Construction at the present location will create hindrance to regular routine and hamper business activities. To overcome such hindrances, in-plant office’s idea evolved. According to this idea, the required plan for expansion in the office is carried over else where. Due to this activity, there is no hindrance caused to regular business activity in the office.In-plant offices are beneficial for businesses which have time constraints and less space for expansion. It is also possible to build an entire office using modular construction solutions. There are many advantages associated with this procedure. Let us look at few of the important. First, there is no disturbance caused while the construction work is in process. Noises arising out of construction are minimized. There is also reduction in the mess that is generally created in the site. Second, the entire process is completed at a faster pace. Business with time constraint will find it very helpful in opting for this procedure. The process is carried over at 5 times higher than the regular construction procedure.As in-plant offices are made-to-build, there is always a possibility of changing the walls in later stages. The office can be shifted to another location without much trouble. With the help of professionals, it is possible to remove the walls and place them at the new location. The entire shifting process will be processed within an hour. Rate of depreciation for modular offices or in-plant offices is less. Most of the businesses consider these as furniture. Long life and ease of handling further increase the savings for a business.In-plant offices require less maintenance. This factor also reduces the overall cost needed for maintenance. The design and built of the office can be changed according to the need at any time. This feature is the main advantage associated with modular offices. A business can change the design, the size and shape according to needs. The entire procedure is also simple. The walls are redesigned and painted with preferred color. They are then put back at the same location or installed at a new location. The change over process is very less. However, the exact time will depend on the size of the already present in-plant office.There are many service providers in the market offering construction solutions for in-plant offices. It is necessary to approach a reputed builder. Experience is the most important factor to consider while selecting a builder. You can also check out previous models built by a builder for final evaluation. Modular offices are technological evolution that reduces construction costs. Using the feature is a great advantage for any business. Flexibility and movement of the office are other advantages associated with modular construction procedures. Seek professional help to build a well-designed modular office that is erected in no time and which meets the requirement.

Making the Construction Management Software Selection Process Timely – A Guide

Construction Management Software selection can be an extremely trying experience; and, it can also be highly rewarding.  The times when you wrack your brain over details such as how to effectively and safely integrate current business practices, processes and other methodologies into a software package that has been designed mostly for a generic scenario can be downright unsettling.  Or, perhaps you will wonder how to take advantage of the software’s more broadly accepted practices for your own business.Commitment to those details is paramount to getting the best Construction Management Software package; one that will fit your business needs most effectively.  Without those details being worked out and thought through, the software selection process will not yield the most beneficial outcome. The rewards do come, though; and they come mostly from knowing you have committed the necessary resources to ensure comprehensive and innovative strategies are carried out, toward selecting a software product that will serve its intended purpose for present as well as future business goals.Selecting Construction Management Software is also quite like selecting an automobile or other similar commodity.  Software companies, like most companies, compete with one another to bring the best software packages to their potential customers; and the process for selecting which package is best for your particular company needs can be a frustrating task. Because there are so many options and possibilities available in Construction Management Software packages, it is easy to become confused and lost in the jargon and techno-lingo that accompanies such an endeavor; especially for individuals who might be limited in their knowledge of software and other computer related subject matter.Of course, it is also imperative that those who are engaged in studying, testing, practicing, and otherwise evaluating Construction Management Software packages be intimately familiar with the overall business structure and operational processes and procedures. They should also have a solid understanding of how each business sector interfaces with other business sectors, and with suppliers, vendors, consultants and other typical business resources.They also need to have a keen understanding of software and computers, in order to be able to select the best software fit for the business.  If they still think a mouse is a rodent, they probably should not be a part of the software selection team!It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to stay focused and attentive to the details.  While those details might try to tangle you up in knots, you are in control; you can commit to making the very best Construction Management Software selection possible, for your particular business.  Take the bull by the horns; delve into those details with the confidence and assurance that you will ultimately succeed with nothing less than the very best Construction Management Software package available for your specific needs. 

Lean Construction – If Not Now, When?

The Lean Construction Journal in a 2009 white paper pegs the ratio of non-value-added or wasteful activities in a typical construction project at 55% to 65%. The white paper-Creating Value: A Sufficient Way to Eliminate Waste in Lean Design and Lean Production goes on to say, “Creating value and only value is the best way to reduce waste in design and construction.”Needless to say, the construction industry is badly broken and needs fixing. How does the industry rise up and meet the challenges of customer demand for higher quality, improved profitability, and the shortage of skilled workers? The first step is to cast aside the not invented here syndrome and embrace a time tested manufacturing solution -the Toyota Production System-commonly called Lean.Why should construction company managers even consider Lean as a way to improve their business? Here are some eye opening facts about the U.S. construction industry:60% to 85% of construction time is spent waiting or fixing mistakes
The average construction worker operates at 40% efficiency
Critical shortages exist in qualified and skilled workers
The return on equity for construction pales in comparison to all other U.S. industries
Customers are frustrated with poor quality, confrontation, excessive change orders, and scheduling delaysThese are some of the same or similar issues Japanese companies like Toyota faced in the 1950’s. Lean construction can help remediate the dire conditions described above. While Lean is no silver bullet, lean construction offers substantial improvements to the problems facing the construction industry. If construction companies want to prosper in the 21st Century then they should move toward lean thinking.Why so Much Waste?Why so much waste? Construction projects are so fragmented. Many times subcontractors do their work disregarding how what they do impact the work of other subcontractors. We call this the “throw it over the wall’ mentality. One functional department ( in this case subcontractor) completes its part of the project and throws it over the wall to the next department (subcontractor) who throws it back over the wall because it isn’t right. This mentality sub-optimizes the performance of the entire project creating quality and schedule problems.Lean thinking is a new way to manage construction. Many people object because they believe lean is a manufacturing strategy and has no application in a “unique” industry like construction. The goal of Lean Process Improvement is to maximize value and eliminate waste using techniques like one-piece flow, Just-in-time delivery, and inventory reduction.There is a small but growing movement to apply lean principles to construction. Applying lean principles to construction really means applying them to project management. This transformation involves mapping your construction processes, determining the most efficient work flow and establishing a pull system. How do you create a pull system? As a contractor you can begin by looking at what the completed project should be, and then work backwards, identifying each preceding step. Downstream processes determine what the upstream processes will be and when they should take place. Taking this view of the project will help you control the work flow. You should also look at creating value stream or process maps of your job support processes as well as project processes. Processes like job setup, estimating, payroll, accounts payable, purchasing, tool and material handling are good candidates for mapping.The Need for ChangeThe construction industry is broken and the five facts below demonstrate why the industry needs to change:If it takes six months to build a house, then 85 percent of the time is spent on two activities: waiting on the next trade to show up, and fixing mistakes
Clemson’s Professor Roger Liska conducted an analysis of productivity on the construction industry and found that the average construction worker operates at only 40 percent efficiency.
Critical shortages of qualified, skilled workers are predicted to only get worse.
Despite the construction boom of 2006, Business Week’s 2007 Investment Outlook Report indicated the return on equity (ROE) for all U.S. industries was 17.9 percent, while the ROE for the construction industry was a mere 9.7 percent.
Industry customers are frustrated with poor quality, confrontation, excessive change orders in quantity and dollar value, scheduling delays and litigation.Adding ValueLean construction focuses on identifying and delivering products or services on which the client/owner places high value. Clients often place high value on:No or limited change orders
High quality-meaning conformance to requirements/specifications
On-time delivery of the projectTo learn what a particular client values, the contractor must effectively communicate, then collaborate, with the client to achieve those desired results. While it may be easier to accept this concept in the negotiated arena, it also works in the highly competitive bid marketplace.While there are fewer options in the bid market than in the negotiated environment, there are still numerous ways contractors can add value to the construction process for owners that cost the contractor little or nothing. Simply by eliminating confrontation and reaching out through better communication and collaboration, the contractor can substantially increase value for the owner.ProfitabilityWhen contractors focus on delivering maximum value to clients, they usually find that profit margins increase. This is not surprising, since in virtually any industry the cheapest products usually produce the smallest profit margin. Therefore, if a contractor competes on price, the contractor is forced into a low margin sector of the industry. Industry data supports the belief that highly competitive bid markets are the least profitable. Secondly, since lean construction is about reducing waste, this means lower costs. Therefore, the contractor is under less pressure to lower its profit margins. Toyota was able to almost immediately double its productivity. When you consider the average construction worker is working at only 40 percent efficiency, the construction industry should expect dramatic improvements. Before blaming the worker, it should be noted that Roger Liska’s studies revealed that the majority of the lost efficiency was due to poor management-20 percent results from waiting for materials or supplies, 20 percent results from inefficient company processes and 15 percent results from work rules or congested work areas.Shortage of Skilled WorkersAnother challenge the industry faces is a shortage of skilled workers. If the industry wants to attract workers, it must change the perception that construction work is undesirable. Again, lean construction is a valuable tool in that battle. When there is a lack of workers, there is a tendency to reduce the job requirements to find additional workers. To make this work, the requirements tend to be revised downward so lower skilled workers can qualify. While this works in the short term, it creates boring jobs that highly skilled workers don’t want. Further, this approach tends to reduce productivity and increase the downward pressure on wages because wages reflect productivity. Throwing money at a problem is never a solution, but wages are a factor in the equation. Therefore, emphasis must be placed on increased productivity so highly skilled workers can be attracted and wages increased. This isn’t a delusion because lean manufacturers have already proved this concept works.While there are no panaceas, Lean offers substantial improvements to the challenges facing the construction industry. Those contractors that want to prosper in the 21st century should move toward thinking lean to improve their processes.The Power of Lean in ConstructionLean construction is a systematic application of lean thinking to the design and construction of buildings that do what clients and end-users want-provide value. Evolved over the last 50 years, lean thinking has revolutionized some parts of manufacturing and is now facilitating significant improvements in the way service organizations like hospitals, banks, etc. are meeting customer requirements.Adopting lean thinking requires sustained work over a number of years. There are no instant solutions. For most people, lean requires a change in the way they think and the behaviors that support their actions. There are many things that lean organizations do that can be copied — partnering, supply chain management, value stream analysis, flow, etc. — but they are only lean when they are done with lean intent. That requires lean thinking around how the organization works.Not all construction firms accept waste as a necessary prerequisite for doing business. They minimize or eliminate it by using Lean tools and techniques. Some examples of companies using Lean principles and tools to overcome poor quality, poor delivery and less than stellar profits are: Boldt Construction, Linbeck Construction, Mortenson, Sutter health, Veridian Homes, and the Walsh GroupConclusionLean process improvement isn’t a new concept, but it is relatively new to construction. There are many skeptics who believe Lean is a manufacturing strategy and is not suited for the construction industry. Many aspects of the Toyota Production System and other lean tools can and do apply to the construction process.Courageous, out-of-the-box thinking construction organizations such as Boldt, Turner Construction, and Messer Construction along with others, are leading the way by demonstrating that lean process improvement can reduce waste in construction with results mirroring other industries.Lean principles hold the promise of reducing or eliminating wasteful activities, costs, and inefficiencies in construction, creating a system that provides value to customers.