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Lean management is making its way onto Bouygues Construction work sites

Picture a work site without construction delays or accidents, from the storage of materials to the receipt of the structures: this Bouygues Construction ideal may soon be achieved thanks to Lean Management. Here is where things stand.

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Lean DNA

July 2015. 2015. On the Saint Denis ZAC Montjoie work site, several employees go about their business as usual. But is it really “as usual”? Not exactly, because today, exceptionally, they are equipped with pedometers, and a camera records every action that happens on the work site. This is part of a workshop led by Guillaume Laroche, the Lean Structural Works representative at Habitat Social (Bouygues Bâtiment Ile-de-France). The very next day, the team and the representative will examine the results of the day of observation and, as a group, identify non-value added efforts such as overproduction, storage, transport, movements and trips that could be avoided, unnecessary wait time, and waste.

After this identification stage, a series of Lean tools will be defined collectively, then implemented, to resolve each of the problems encountered. This scenario is not specific to Habitat Social: after numerous experiments initiated by work site teams since 2011, today, lean management is finally becoming widespread. “We wish to implement Lean on all Bouygues Construction work sites, as it is the key to maintaining our development and staying competitive in our core sector, construction,” explains Pierre Barrelet, Lean coordinator for the Group under the supervision of Marie-Luce Godinot, herself appointed by Philippe Bonnave in 2016. “This means that all work site teams need to put in place this approach and be able to adapt its deployment to their needs,” he adds.

To reach the goal of 100% of work sites using Lean, representatives - called Lean managers - are now present in each entity to support the implementation of this new organisation. All share the same view of what lean management must look like when applied to Bouygues Construction: developing employees’ competencies at all levels within the company, in order to create continuous improvement by fixing problems at their root, and achieving client satisfaction.

Paris 17 Lot O7 Zac des Batignolles. Lean Meeting.

Lean Management representatives also agree on the “field” aspect of the approach: problems on a work site cannot be detected in an office! It is best to be on site and to spend time with the teams. “Lean Management is practised in the field, with the teams: it’s about solving problems on the work site, step by step, lastingly. Bouygues Construction is already a breeding ground for the implementation of Lean, because people, their skills, and the culture of progress at the service of clients and of the company are already anchored in our values,” explains Cécile Gomez, Lean Management Director at Perform TP (Bouygues Travaux Publics).

She and Sophie Clerc, the Prevention and External Relations Expertise Manager at Bouygues Bâtiment Ile-de-France, agree that training in the field and the role of the manager are both equally essential in the implementation of this approach on work sites. “All people, according to their role, can examine what slows them down in their work and come up with ideas for improvement or practical solutions. It is the manager’s role, among others, to initiate these reflections and to encourage the teams to think for themselves.” When applied properly, Lean Management brings all players in a project, including suppliers, service providers, site workers, and site managers, to ask themselves the same question: how to work more efficiently, individually and as a group, to satisfy the clients.

And what do people on work sites think?​

On each work site where a Lean approach has been put in place, the same pattern repeats itself: 1/ Lean Managers help establish a collaborative diagnostic of the risks and opportunities and identify the non-value added efforts. 2/ All players on the work site, service providers, suppliers, managers, etc., search for a solution to each non-value added item. 3/ Specific solutions decided on as a group are implemented using Lean tools.

Lean meeting, Star City Zone C, Yangon, Myanmar.

Houcine Hanachi, Lean Management Director at Bouygues Bâtiment Nord-Est (Bouygues Entreprises France-Europe), adds as a precision, “There is no magic formula applicable to all work sites. Lean is first and foremost a culture based on principles; then, tools are made available, which should be combined in order to create the Lean approach. We use the same identification workshops in the beginning, but then, each Lean approach suggested is specific to the work site where it is created and applied.” The results of these approaches are quickly seen: learning to work together, anticipating roadblocks several weeks ahead of time, and holding group briefings every morning to talk about the schedule and the task to be accomplished...

On the Lens 184 work site, a daily morning meeting lasting 5-10min per plot takes place, and all site workers attend.

... So that each person heads to the right place, at the right time, and with the right equipment. On the work site, there are no more unnecessary trips, and no time is wasted looking for equipment or waiting on a delivery blocked by a surplus of material stored at the wrong place. Bouygues Energies & Services, Bouygues Entreprises France-Europe, and BYMARO employees talked to us about their current or recent work site on which a Lean approach was implemented following the workshops.

Hanane Lemsyeh and her sub-contractors fill out the weekly LPS schedule at the Faubourgs d’Anfa work site.
They talk to us
Andrea Paget
General manager, Bouygues Energies & Services
Just because we’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the most efficient way to do it.The workshops, especially the identification stage, allowed her teams to look at their Facility Management activities at Peterborough Schools under a new angle.
Vincent Wyckaert
Project manager, Bouygues Entreprise France Europe
At the Moulins Yzeure hospital, the extension project was divided, sequenced, paced, and scheduled with the sub-contractors. In the end, the project was delivered without reservations or accidents, and within the time frame of the initial schedule. The client gave it a perfect score.
Xavier Rassat
Work department manager, AstraZeneca Dunkerque
All employees immediately make the link between their task and environment and the other schedule constraints. In fact, the client showed great interest and wished to draw inspiration from that for other projects, which Bouygues Energies & Services will doubtless carry out. Win-win!

Hanane Lemsyeh, CEA Works Supervisor, who uses the Last Planner System (LPS) on her work site at Faubourgs d’Anfa (BYMARO, Bouygues Bâtiment International), states, “This Lean tool allowed us to locate each task to be accomplished in time and space, and highlighted the chain of sub-contractor tasks and the consequences of delays on the entire project.” In this way, scheduling has been optimised, and everyone is held accountable: tasks are carried out one after the other more quickly and fluidly. “This is a major asset for this project, as our main challenge was the short time frame,” concludes Stéphane Schaeffer, Lean BYMARO representative and project assistant.

5S (Lean tool), before. Eole, Montrouge (Bouygues Bâtiment Ile-de-France).

If we take a step back from work sites and examine the company as a whole, some goals set for Lean Management may vary (for example, HAS looks at things first and foremost from a safety perspective - more communication, less stress and fewer trips means less risk -, BYBI is interested in mastering scheduling, and BYTP is interested in performance - all are intrinsically linked to prevention, safety, and quality.) But all lean managers and site managers very often agree on one aspect of Lean: this process brings much more serenity to the projects. In turn, this serenity generates a number of benefits for all, from site workers to clients.

5S (Lean tool), after. Eole, Montrouge (Bouygues Bâtiment Ile-de-France).

Is Lean Management a source of stress? Some people sometimes describe Lean Management in rather unflattering terms, as a source of stress and suffering at work. Cécile Gomez’s view is that if such situations exist, it means that the implementation of the approach has deviated from its main purpose. “It’s not about making the teams pedal faster, but better. In other words, we’re not trying to reduce the 24 seconds it takes to drive in a nail, but rather the 60 minutes spent looking for the hammer!”

> Lean Management is a way to identify problems and possible improvements, then fix the problems lastingly. > It is a way to encourage people to grow, not become robots. > It is not about pressuring; on the contrary, it is a reorganisation to become stress-free. Stéphane Schaeffer confirms, “I know what a stressful situation looks like on a work site. I haven’t forgotten my experience as a CEA Works Supervisor and the stress generated in the last 3 months before delivery. Inversely, when I talk to my colleagues about Lean Management, I promise them serenity.”

A key strategic matter​

“Construction is a highly competitive sector, and many companies are on the same level technologically. Tomorrow, a collaborative culture and continuous improvement will make the difference,” emphasizes Pierre Barrelet. At Travaux Publics, it has been well established for several years that Lean Management is a matter of company sustainability. “As is already the case in the industrial sector, tomorrow, there will probably no longer be any construction companies without lean management,” explains Olivier Miret, Director of Industrial Optimisation at Travaux Publics.

For Xavier Rassat (AstraZeneca Dunkirk, BYES), clients also challenge the processes: “When it came to respecting the will of the clients (very short deadlines while absolutely ensuring quality), Lean Management appeared as the best solution for coordinating teams from different management scopes. And it’s win-win.” This point of view is shared at the highest levels of the Group’s hierarchy.

Unstoppable Lean!​ Thanks to this large-scale deployment, our work sites are adopting Lean more and more. The proof is that the testimonials presented in this article are but a small sample of numerous examples of the implementation of Lean Construction within the Group. To further accelerate the deployment of this approach on its work sites, as early as 2011, Bouygues Travaux Publics progressively implemented the Perform TP initiative. Within the Industrial Optimisation Department led by Olivier Miret, Cécile Gomez and her team are fully dedicated to the subject, and the team members that worked on the sites will go back there and pass on best practices for Lean Management. Perform TP also involves Lean employees from other entities to exchange best practices.

In construction, Lean was first deployed on work sites with the assistance of specialised external consultants via standard contracts available to all. Today, internal representatives have taken over and become autonomous and able to adapt the approach, expand it, and enrich it through the Group’s best practices. A growing number of OUs view Lean as a true business plan deployed on all projects using a tool box formalised under the leadership of GM (BBNE and HAR among other, then BYBI, HAS, Brézillon/Bâti-rénov, etc.)

Finally, a group of Lean representatives was created so that the various entities and subsidiaries could discuss best practices, and more generally, deployment on work sites. This is mostly to structure the main tools, inform and support people on work sites, integrate feedback, measure benefits, follow up on deployment, and accompany the change. Similarly, a group called Yammer Lean Management was created to discuss the subject. Lean is now operational at Bouygues Construction!

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