'Lean thinking' could save UAE contractors 20% on projects


Neha Bhatia , July 11th, 2018

A local construction expert has called on UAE contractors to adopt ‘lean thinking’ management techniques to achieve tangible savings on the activity and project levels.

Moritz Miller, project partner at Drees & Sommer Middle East, said the business philosophy could help to boost efficiencies in the construction process.

“With the application of lean thinking in construction management, UAE contractors stand to achieve savings of 10-30% at activity level, and 10-20% at project level, in addition to fewer wastage costs, greater profitability and a reputation for both consistent and efficient execution and delivery,” Miller explained.

Lean thinking in the construction sector focuses on the adoption of methods to boost labour productivity, define the most significant value streams, and establish work processes and schedules that can help contractors to remain within budget and avoid delays.

READ: Going green saves Abu Dhabi infra projects $288m

“While numerous advanced technologies have been introduced over the last 40 years, the overall efficiency of the industry has remained substantially low,” Miller said.

“The time taken to deliver a project, allocation of excessive human resources, over-ordering of materials, and time wasted due to miscommunication are all major factors that can hinder operational efficiency and lead to cost overruns and project delays.”

According to Miller, the adoption of lean management can help to identify and eliminate areas of resource wastage through “incremental improvements”.

Commenting on how lean thinking can boost a construction scheme, he explained: “New micro-processes are created to maximise timeliness, avoid the over or under-production or allocation of resources required to complete a job, and identify who is responsible for each task and the required completion dates of those tasks.

“There are numerous examples demonstrating that applying lean thinking in construction management can significantly increase project efficiency, assist in the early detection and avoidance of risks, and lead to the achievement of all scheduled milestones, cost targets, and quality goals.”


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