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Lean is about creating the most value for you the customer while minimising resources, time, energy and effort.  The core idea is to maximise customer value while minimising waste.  Simply put, lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources.  As an operating principle, Callaghan Electrical is committed and continually invests in working to a lean culture so we can understand customer value and constantly strive to deliver it through our project approaches and processes.  Our ultimate goal is to provide the utmost value to the customer through a slick value creation process with zero waste.​


Our focus on lean principles at Callaghan Electrical

CE - Lean Option
Understanding value from the customer viewpoint

The traditional approach to construction focuses on what the customer wants you to build, the plans and the specifications. The Callaghan Electrical approach adopts a 'lean' approach to construction which involves recognising and working to deliver deeper values that are important to the customer.  The emphasis shifts from what to build to why!

In order to understand value from the customer viewpoint, a different level of trust is required from early in the planning phases of a project. Our lean construction approach brings together all stakeholders including the owner, architect, engineers, general contractor, subcontractors, and suppliers. Our project team not only delivers what the client wants, but they provide advice and help shape expectations throughout the lifetime of the project.


Define the Value Stream

Once we have a clear understanding of value from the customer’s viewpoint, we lay out all the necessary processes to deliver that value. This is called the value stream. For each activity, the necessary labour, information, equipment, and materials are defined. Any steps or resources that don’t add value are removed.


Eliminate Waste

A primary goal of our lean construction approach is eliminating or minimising waste at every opportunity.

Lean construction targets eight major types of waste:


  • Defects – this is anything that is not done correctly the first time, resulting in rework that wastes time and materials.


  • Overproduction - In construction, overproduction happens when a task is completed earlier than scheduled or before the next task in the process can be started.

  • Waiting - The most common scenario that leads to waiting in construction is when workers are ready, but the necessary materials needed for the work to be completed have not been delivered or the prerequisite prior task has not been completed.


  • Not Utilising Talent - Workers on a construction project have a range of skills and experience. When the right person is not matched to the right job, their talent, skills, and knowledge go to waste.


  • Transport - The waste of transport happens when materials, equipment, or workers are moved to a job site before they are needed. It can also refer to the unnecessary transmission of information.

  • Inventory - Materials that are not immediately needed are considered excess inventory. They tie up a budget,  require storage, and often degrade when not used.

  • Motion - Movement that is not necessary, as the distance between workers and tools or materials creates the waste of motion.


  • Over Processing - Over processing happens when features or activities are added that have no value to the client. Ironically, this often occurs when taking steps to eliminate other types of waste.

Flow of Work Processes

The ideal state of a Lean construction project is a continuous, uninterrupted workflow that is reliable and predictable. The sequence is key in construction.  For example, you cannot start building the frame until the footings are set. Clear communication between all parties is essential to achieving flow. When one part of the project gets behind or ahead of schedule, it is essential to let everyone know so that adjustments can be made to avoid the wastes of waiting, motion, and excess inventory.


Pull Planning and Scheduling

Creating reliable workflows depends on work being released based on downstream demand. Lean construction recognises that this is best done by those performing the work, in some cases subcontractors.  Participants must communicate and collaborate closely with each other to determine the schedule of tasks.


Continuous Improvement

The belief that it is possible and necessary to continuously improve processes and eliminate waste is the heart of the Lean philosophy. Opportunities for improvement are identified and acted upon during the project and applied to future projects.

The construction industry is not immune to the tendency to stick to old ways and resist change, but the many benefits of the Lean approach are compelling more and more firms to take on the challenge. When projects come in on time, on budget, and with exactly the value the customer expected, everyone involved is better for it.


Lean Training at Callaghan Electrical

As an operating principle, Callaghan Electrical is committed and continually invests in working to a lean culture so we can understand customer value and constantly strive to deliver it through our project approaches and processes.

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