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LCI Congress Through the Eyes of Touchplan’s Lean Enthusiast

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Touchplan’s Lean expert George Hunt recently attended and presented at the 2021 LCI Congress Conference in Phoenix, AZ. We sat down with George to get his takeaways from this year’s event.

Technology in Construction has moved to the forefront. Do you think that this came through at LCI? Are contractors seeing that Tech is the best and perhaps the only way to move forward when planning and managing construction projects?

I had several conversations with people about how COVID exposed them to the need for some resiliency in some of their processes. Planning on the jobsite was one of them. I think many people who were on the fence about going to a more digital environment were accelerated and pushed into adopting. Even aside from the planning environments themselves, anything that has helped keep the lines of communication open and transparent to everyone who can not be on the job every day has been valuable. The biggest takeaway for me was that everyone I was speaking with said that their processes were better in general and would keep with the new tech even after we went back to normal. There were also many presentations that were around the use of digital tools.

What were some of the hotter or popular topics this year? What were attendees looking to find out?

The overall theme of the conference this year was Learn by Doing from Those Who Do. From there, everything was broken down into learning tracks: Leveling Imbalances in Lean Learnings, Lean Learnings from Prefabrication, Lean Learnings from the Field, and Lean Learnings from the Design Community. There were lots of presentations spread between all of these tracks that included teams presenting on singular projects and lessons learned to companies talking about complete organizational transformation. There was something for everyone!

Do you think Lean is growing in popularity? Were there more first-timers there this year looking to implement it more on their projects?

I haven’t seen the final numbers for the conference overall, but I know Lean Construction, in general, has been growing in popularity. I don’t know the numbers on first-timers, but I know that I did meet and talk to quite a few. The construction industry has recognized that there are better ways to do our work, and I think that year after year, the growth of this conference is a testament to that.

What was your biggest takeaway from LCI Congress?

My biggest takeaway from the conference was the overall perseverance of the Lean Construction community. While it would have been easy to revert to our old ways of working and pause to anything new, this community found ways to improve and innovate despite the challenges faced with this pandemic. People not only had a desire to share their experiences with others in the form of presentations, but everyone showed up to listen and learn from them. It makes quite a statement about the Lean Construction community and the desire to improve our industry and the lives of everyone in it.

For more Insights from George, check out his new podcast Upping Your Game, and read his blog series on project production management.