Putting projects in pole position

Perth, Aus­tralia

Pre­par­ing for shorter and smal­ler jobs is easier when you ask the right ques­tions. The Job Read­i­ness Re­view tool de­veloped by KAEFER in Aus­tralia ap­plies LEAN prin­ciples to small pro­jects, get­ting a head start in the pro­cess.

In ra­cing, the pit crew needs to be in a con­stant state of read­i­ness. This makes light­ning-fast re­fuel­ling and part re­place­ment pos­sible with ab­so­lutely no waste – of time or ma­ter­i­als. The Job Read­i­ness Re­view pro­cess for small pro­jects pi­on­eered by KAEFER in Aus­tralia fol­lows the same prin­ciple: make sure teams are ready to go, with all the re­sources they need in place as soon as they need them.

When around 90% of pro­jects last no longer than one month, as they do in the Aus­tralian mar­ket, it’s of­ten more of a chal­lenge to fully ap­ply LEAN, in­clud­ing all the ne­ces­sary train­ing and pro­ced­ural steps. This is what led to the de­vel­op­ment of the Job Read­i­ness Re­view, which is ef­fect­ively a series of ques­tions posed be­fore the com­mence­ment of a pro­ject to en­sure that all ele­ments for its suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion are in synch. The Job Read­i­ness Re­view is a di­gital tool, where a check­list provides scores for the read­i­ness of 6 key areas: man­age­ment, la­bour, plants, equip­ment and tools, ma­ter­i­als, sys­tems and job set-up. Work can only go head when the com­bined score reaches at least 85%. It’s more than just a check­list, however. It’s a pre­par­a­tion sys­tem that fa­cil­it­ates con­tinu­ous im­prove­ment by con­sid­er­ing all the ele­ments that con­trib­ute to pro­ject suc­cess – no mat­ter how small it may be.

Lining up on the grid

Since many pro­jects in­volve short shut­downs, get­ting all the re­sources lined up be­fore­hand means less down­time for the cli­ent and faster, more ef­fi­cient com­ple­tion. “It’s a great way to en­sure you have covered all areas when it comes to job set up,” says John Reyn­olds, Pro­ject Man­ager, Mid-West. “There are a lot of areas that need to be covered when set­ting up a pro­ject, which provides room for mis­takes. Job read­i­ness is a good way to re­fresh your­self be­fore start­ing the hands-on work.”

When it comes to pre­par­a­tion, it’s a mat­ter of find­ing the right bal­ance. This ap­plies as much to the cre­ation of the tool it­self as it does to the jobs it fa­cil­it­ates, as Dipesh Bhu­dia, Re­gional LEAN Leader APAC ex­plains, “to cover all as­pects of a pro­ject, without mak­ing the ap­proach too long-win­ded, we needed to gain in­sight from ex­per­i­enced pro­ject teams. The core of the job read­i­ness re­view is the ques­tions, so we used dy­namic re­view ses­sions to de­term­ine ex­actly what was im­port­ant to know up front.” This pro­cess in­volved ask­ing 300 – 400 ques­tions over two months, in­volving the HR, safety, qual­ity and IT de­part­ments, amongst oth­ers. A com­pre­hens­ive list was then dis­tilled into tar­geted, job-crit­ical ques­tions, which can be ap­plied across the board on small pro­jects. “It’s one thing to de­velop a tool like this, but it’s even more chal­len­ging for op­er­a­tions teams to learn and con­sist­ently use it on all pro­jects. That’s why I must show my ap­pre­ci­ation to Adam Por­taro, Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­ficer, and the re­gional man­agers for rolling the tool out and fol­low­ing up at op­er­a­tions meet­ings and onsite vis­its,” Bhu­dia adds.

On your marks, get set, go!

“With the Job Read­i­ness Re­view, an Op­er­a­tions or Pro­ject Man­ager can look at po­ten­tial risks across de­liv­ery and mit­ig­ate these prior to start­ing work,” ex­plains Vic­tor Bo­gos, Man­aging Dir­ector, KAEFER In­teg­rated Ser­vices Pty Ltd., “This cov­ers all ele­ments in­clud­ing or­gan­isa­tional charts, HSEQ, re­sourcing fore­casts, sourcing strategies, ma­ter­ial spe­cific­a­tions, equip­ment re­quire­ments through to sys­tems, all of which are crit­ical to en­sur­ing work is com­pleted safely and ef­fi­ciently. The tool is de­signed to prompt the pro­ject teams to un­der­stand and ad­dress the areas re­quired to make a pro­ject ready, ul­ti­mately en­sur­ing it is de­livered suc­cess­fully.” In­volving pro­ject teams from the be­gin­ning made the ad­op­tion of the Job Read­i­ness Re­view nat­ural and it has been de­ployed ex­tens­ively in the Aus­tralian mar­ket with great suc­cess. Fur­ther­more, as the tool is browser-based, it can be used in re­mote loc­a­tions as well.

Across the line

LEAN has tra­di­tion­ally been used on me­dium to lar­ger-sized pro­jects. The Job Read­i­ness Re­view al­lows KAEFER to ap­ply LEAN prin­ciples on smal­ler pro­jects and achieve sim­ilar be­ne­fits in terms of ef­fi­ciency. It’s also ad­apt­able and scal­able across KAEFER loc­a­tions around the world. “Think of it like Wiki­pe­dia, or open-source soft­ware,” says Axel Schulz Head of Cor­por­ate Op­er­a­tions Ex­cel­lence LEAN. “The in­form­a­tion is there for all of us to use, but we can use it in the way we want to or need to. That makes the tool more agile and ap­plic­able to a wide vari­ety of pro­jects, geo­graph­ies and mar­kets.” If it works so well and it’s ap­plic­able in vari­ous areas, what would the next step be? “Given the suc­cess of this ap­proach, it’s now about in­teg­rat­ing the LEAN Ma­tur­ity as­sess­ment and its coach­ing into small and short pro­jects,” Schulz com­ments. The im­petus for the Job Read­i­ness Re­view may have come from Aus­tralia, but the need for greater ef­fi­ciency on small pro­jects is uni­ver­sal in the KAEFER world. It also goes to show the ex­tent to which LEAN is be­ing lived at all levels in the com­pany and the suc­cess it can bring in terms of get­ting ahead and tak­ing the lead.