In terms of Lean or the spirit of being more efficient with our processes, construction software is broken down into two different categories: 1) solutions that allow the builder to become more efficient or Lean and 2) solutions that emulate an existing Lean process.
Procore’s software encourages Lean-like process efficiencies. Through its short learning curve, easy user interface, and automation of several mundane but necessary tasks on a jobsite, the company’s solution allows builders to become more efficient by giving them the freedom to do what they are hired to do, like solve problems, learn the job, and actually build.
Conversely, Touchplan is a tool that emulates the Last Planner System (LPS). As a premier field planning program, Touchplan was thoughtfully engineered to ease the pain and offer simplicity during complex builds such as medical construction.
Currently, Touchplan and Procore have an integration, so both softwares can work together to help the user achieve the best results in one, smooth process.
Touchplan for the Last Planner
One of the best Lean practices for any construction team to adopt is the Last Planner System, a production planning system designed to produce predictable work flow and rapid learning in programming, design, construction, and commissioning of projects.
LPS has several elements that may be different from what current teams are accustomed to using. The ultimate goal of LPS is to efficiently plan and execute projects while simultaneously getting input from the expert tradesmen doing the work — giving reason for the name, the Last Planner. Trade contractors are experts in their respective fields by virtue of their refined skill set from years of experience.
So why wouldn’t we get their detailed input on how a project should be built if it means we will build it in the best fashion possible?
The reason is fairly simple and one you’ve likely come across if you’ve ever attempted to use LPS. It’s increasingly difficult to get trades to translate their specialized work into something that can be understood my others for the purpose of coordination.
LPS supports getting the seasoned knowledge from the expert’s mind down in writing — in most cases, using sticky notes. Having this expertise transcribed allows everyone to talk about the work and, best of all, coordinate with others. Imagine the value that will come from a plumber, for example, understanding how an electrician is planning to do their work? Simply put — LPS inspires trades to collaborate, and gives them a way to do it.
The next part of the system involves coordinating the trade’s work into a sequence. Now that all of the work is expressed in a simple-to-understand format, notes are easily moved around to create a plan that makes the most sense for a particular job with the understanding of others’ involvement, too.
Touchplan is the leanest way to put LPS into everyday use effectively and in a way the entire team can utilize for a long time to come. The user can coordinate with his/her team in real time on a plan that everyone develops together, demanding total buy-in and accountability. Need some help with being proactive? Touchplan’s reports are generated automatically — including weekly work plans, look-ahead schedules, and PPC reports, so the user can assess success any time, anywhere allowing teams to continually improve their process immediately. Finally, Touchplan’s archival system and mobility create a way to make projects more efficient no matter where team members are.
The ultimate solution
So, which is it . . . a solution that allows the user to become more Lean-oriented or one that mirrors the process in an effective way? With the recent and widely anticipated launch of the Touchplan/Procore integration, the customer will have a way to help achieve the Lean goals and stick with the practice. Seamlessly referencing any RFI documents? Done. Laying out the company’s trade’s tasks premeeting? All set.
Now, only one question remains: With all the reasons one has to build Lean, why aren’t you?