12 July 2021

3min

Leveraging Human-centric Lean to foster communication and continuous improvement

A member of Bouygues Construction Group, Dragages Singapore is a leading engineering and construction firm specialising in residential and commercial buildings. The company is a trailblazer in modular construction, or PPVC, which allows them to build high-rise towers at a very fast pace.

Photo of a construction site illustrating Dragages Singapore's PPVC process and how onepoint's expertise on Lean improved it

The PPVC process has three distinct phases carried out across three different sites: one in Malaysia, where the concrete carcasses and all precast elements of the modules are built; a second one in Singapore, where modules are assembled to form a unit and fitted out with all necessary equipment; and then the construction site, where the different units are assembled and stacked to create the building.

Philippe Gesret joined Dragages Singapore in January 2020 as Director Modular Construction. While Philippe compares the PPVC activity to “making legos,” he believes the challenge is not only to assemble all the blocks, but also to do it in an efficient way. Philippe adds: “As soon as we say efficient, it’s synonymous with Lean. My challenge was to reconnect people across the three sites, so that they communicate better. Lean has the benefit of creating a team. People can talk and can resolve a lot of issues just by sharing their concern.”

Lean approach by onepoint : human-centric

Onepoint’s presence in Singapore and our all-encompassing, human-centric approach to Lean were key when Philippe had to choose a partner to help him implement Lean practices. I liked that onepoint was looking at all the components as a whole and not as isolated elements. Also, before talking about the digital aspects, your starting point was people and, for me, the most important part of Lean is the collaborative approach. I could feel that you knew what you were talking about.”

Lean Roadmap

Our onepoint team started out with an assessment of the three sites in order to assess their maturity in terms of Lean practices and build their Lean Roadmap with the teams. Afterwards we held workshops across the different sites to introduce the teams to Lean principles and reflect on how these translated into their daily work in construction. We had to adapt and rethink our approach to take into account the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic and the workshops were held virtually.

For instance, the first key Lean project launched was to implement a 30-minute daily performance management meeting on each site to monitor and drive performance as well as a multi-site coordination meeting. Large touch screens were installed on each site to facilitate these meetings through visual management. Onepoint conducted daily observations and coaching for over 4 months to support the team and ensure the transfer of skills in-house. This same approach was also applied when the Value Stream Mapping tool was introduced at one of the sites.
During this project, the team held monthly check-in meetings with Philippe to review the progress, address alerts and align on the next steps to be taken. “As a manager, this was very important to me because I’m not at the workshops, so it’s crucial that I understand where we’re going and what the mapping is.”

Moreover, to ensure the approach was sustainable, Lean champions were identified and coached by the onepoint team. In addition the programme was given a visual identity with the name ModuLean, a logo and a newsletter. “It goes above and beyond the KPIs. In the second newsletter we had a site engineer from Malaysia talking about his experience. It keeps people connected.”

A year with Lean

After almost a year applying Lean practices, the benefits are tangible. “In Malaysia, where we build the carcasses, we have had to review the target because we exceeded it every day for 4 weeks. And it’s because we look at the KPIs every day and not just at the end of the month. In phase two, I want to continue extending Lean practices to the two sites in Singapore with the help of onepoint.”

Above all, Philippe also points out that this increase in efficiency has boosted Dragages’ confidence in their capacity to take on new PPVC projects, which has a direct impact on the growth of their business.

« The first thing coming to my mind when I think of onepoint is “mind-opener”. We had this open dialogue, and you were opening our minds and taking on board my needs for the team at the same time. »

Philippe

With its human-centric consulting approach, onepoint has enabled Dragages to increase the efficiency of their PPVC process, empowering the company to embark on new modular construction projects.