This week we began conducting our new Twitter polls to get a finger on the pulse of what the construction supply chain is thinking these days. More respondents told us that they see productivity growth as their greatest opportunity, ahead of market growth and increased market share. Curiously, we also learned that only 26% see adoption of lean practices as the means for this. So, we asked how they expect to make the productivity happen.
We thought that the supply chain would naturally be inclined to adopt lean manufacturing since the practice is quite well known and gaining traction as a means of improving productivity. However, for the most part, our respondents are not thinking this way. (Almost looks like a lean backlash! We'll have to dig into that some more later.)
So, we followed by asking how the supply chain intends to improve productivity. It looks like respondents are actually embracing some of the primary elements of lean practice... even if they do not embrace the term. Adoption of technology (to automate mundane activities) and work flow management are both fundamental elements of lean manufacturing principles. However, the primary departure is that the focus seems to be internal rather than collaborative; note the low appetite for 'supply chain management' as an element of the solution. Lean manufacturing in its purest form calls for collaboration throughout the entire supply chain.
It's very good news to see that the construction supply chain sees productivity growth as its greatest near term opportunity. Today there is more technology, aptitude and capital available to improve productivity than ever before. With $4.6 trillion in infrastructure investment required by 2025, the only way the construction industry will be able to keep pace is through improved productivity.
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