A more streamlined operation with less waste will have payoffs for everyone.
If you’ve read my previous articles, you know that lean offsite manufacturing can help reduce waste and increase efficiency, but how does it impact the customer experience? Today, I’ll dive deep into how implementing lean principles in your organization can positively affect your customers and provide them with a superior experience (which in turn benefits you, of course.).
What is Lean Manufacturing?
Before we delve into the customer benefits of lean manufacturing, let’s first remind ourselves what it is. Lean manufacturing is a production philosophy and approach that aims to minimize waste while maximizing efficiency. This means that every step of the manufacturing process is closely examined and optimized to reduce costs, increase speed and improve quality.
The ultimate goal of lean manufacturing in offsite construction is to provide maximum value to the customer by delivering high-quality, factory-produced building components and systems at a lower cost and with faster delivery times.
Lower Costs for the Customer
The first and most apparent benefit of implementing lean manufacturing principles is lower costs for the customer. By eliminating waste and streamlining processes, you can reduce what you have to pay for labor, raw materials, and energy. The end result is a lower cost of production, which allows you to offer your prefabricated products at a more competitive price point.
As you know, your customers — whether external developers, owners, GCs, or internal field crews — are always looking for the best value for their money. Offering your products at a lower cost can significantly influence their purchasing/ sourcing decision in your favor. Offering products at a lower cost can also help you attract price-sensitive customers who might have otherwise selected a competing off-site provider or chosen to forego off-site altogether for traditional construction methods.
Higher Quality Products
Another benefit of lean manufacturing for the customer is improved product quality. When you focus on eliminating waste and streamlining processes, you’re in a better position to ensure that every module, pod, panel, component, system, or assembly is up to the highest standards of quality. This leads to fewer defects, callbacks, and customer complaints.
The impact of improved product quality on the customer experience cannot be overstated. Customers are obviously more likely to be satisfied with a building that meets or exceeds their quality expectations. Additionally, customers who are satisfied with their offsite construction experience are more likely to become repeat customers and to recommend your services, and offsite construction in general, to others.
Faster Production Times Faster production times are another benefit of implementing lean manufacturing principles. Although speed is already a key benefit of offsite construction, by optimizing your processes, you can further reduce the time it takes to produce and deliver your products.
Speed is very important to off-site and prefab customers. In fact, it’s often what brings them off-site in the first place. Faster production times lead to increased customer satisfaction and more customer loyalty. Customers who receive their building components more quickly are able to finish their buildings more quickly. This makes them more likely to purchase from you again and to recommend you to others.
Lower Environmental Impact
Implementing lean manufacturing principles can also benefit the environment, which is becoming increasingly important for many customers. By reducing waste and using resources efficiently, you can minimize your carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier planet.
In fact, environmental friendliness is rapidly becoming “table stakes” in offsite construction, as customers are more likely to support businesses and processes that prioritize sustainability and the environment. Implementing lean manufacturing principles not only benefits the environment but also helps your company gain a positive reputation in the eyes of environmentally conscious customers (which is nearly all construction customers these days).
Flexibilty & Customization
Another benefit of lean manufacturing for the customer is the ability to respond to design changes and customize products.
By implementing lean principles, you can create a more flexible production process that allows you to respond to changes more quickly and customize products to meet the unique needs of individual customers. This flexibility and customization can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Better Customer Service
Implementing lean manufacturing principles can even improve customer service. By streamlining processes and eliminating waste, you can reduce the time it takes to handle customer inquiries and complaints. This leads to faster response times and more customer satisfaction.
Additionally, implementing lean principles can improve communication between departments, from Business Development, Design, Engineering, and Preconstruction to Production, Shipping, and Field Installation. Better communication can also lead to improved customer service because the entire organization is working together to meet the needs of the customer.
Improved customer service has a significant positive impact on the customer experience, and can lead to increased loyalty and repeat business.
Happy Customers Benefit You
As an offsite manufacturer, it’s essential to remember that the customer experience is crucial to the success of your business and the off-site sector at large. By focusing on lean manufacturing and implementing lean principles, you can provide your customers with the best possible experience, leading to increased loyalty, repeat business, and a positive reputation. By reducing waste, improving quality, and streamlining processes, you can offer your customers high-quality products at a lower cost and with faster delivery times
The implementation of lean principles can also benefit the environment, improve customization and lead to improved customer service. So, why not take the first step and start implementing lean manufacturing in your organization today? Your customers, and your investors, will thank you for it.
Daniel Small is a Denver, Colorado, based management consultant to the offsite construction industry. He specializes in Lean Construction and Manufacturing and Six Sigma methodologies.
For assistance with improving your offsite manufacturing process, contact him at 719-321-1953 or DSmall@DaVinciInno.com.
Published in OFFSITE BUILDER Magazine on April 27, 2023