for January, 2017

We Need Breakthrough Thinking in the Construction Industry

Posted on January 18, 2017 in Homebuilding, Owners - 2

Amazon is no stranger to stirring things up, and their newest invention is no exception.

Yesterday, I read an article about their first grocery store in Seattle – a pilot for now, but it’s really happening – with no cashiers and no lines. There’s not even a self-checkout: customers are tracked via technology that senses what they take from the shelves. When they’re done, they just walk out. Payment is processed automatically.

We don’t sell groceries, but we can learn from Amazon. Their efforts are an outstanding example of the type of breakthrough thinking we need in the construction industry. Supermarkets have lines, and beeping registers, and the candy next to the conveyor belt. That’s their paradigm. But what is the one thing we all hate most in the supermarket? Standing in that very line.

Read more

Don’t Struggle with Your Conveyor Belt

Posted on January 10, 2017 in Owners - 0

Do you remember the classic episode of I Love Lucy, where our favorite comedienne got a job at a chocolate factory? The bosses kept speeding up her conveyor belt, and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t keep up. Lucy shoved chocolates in her mouth, her shirt, her hat. It’s a hilarious picture, but the feeling it captures is one of profound helplessness. Nobody would want to be in that position!

And yet, many owner organizations find themselves struggling with conveyor belts of their own. Capital spending is up, but staffing is at post-recession levels. I spent several hours today with the head of engineering for one of our owner clients that has, over the last 18 months, finally turned the tide in the war on the chocolate factory.

Read more