Rivers Casino & Resort
Benefits from the lean process
The Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady posed some unique challenges. Much larger than most new construction in the region, it had many distinct spaces for which the construction team had to procure and coordinate unique materials and labor. It also had high visibility, given expectations it would bring visitors and an economic boost to the surrounding area.
Based on previous experience, LeChase’s project team knew those challenges made Rivers a great candidate for lean construction.
They began by engaging all workers and managers during the required site orientation—introducing lean principles alongside topics about site and safety requirements. Signage and safety huddles served as daily reminders about the role of lean principles—like the 5S+1, no material hits the floor and just-in-time delivery—in maintaining a clutter-free site and improving safety and efficiency. A more intensive three-hour course further steeped subcontractors and site managers in additional aspects of lean.
Perhaps the biggest benefits on the project came from the Last Planner® System, a lean tool used to create collaborative schedules that enable all parties to identify and remove constraints, commit to reliable promises around deliverables, evaluate daily progress and continuously improve processes.
In a pull-planning process, LeChase provided general project milestones, then all subcontractors worked backward from an end date to create work schedules and obtain buy-in on workflow and hand-off points. With 13 months to complete the project and many moving parts, they broke the schedules into phases and areas to ensure nothing was missed, and to determine where work could occur simultaneously. Once the overall schedules were in place, they collaborated on a more detailed basis to create Make Ready Work Plans that identified constraints over a six-week period, and from there developed One Week Work Plans comprising of commitments—or promises—from each subcontractor about the work they would perform.
All schedules—even the most detailed one-week plans—were kept visible to all parties at the site office on the walls of a 20’ x 20’ “big room.” Use of Procore software, iPads and mobile data vaults on-site eliminated the need for hard-copy sets of documents in the field. Everything was well-orchestrated to meet the lean goal of having “no work waiting for workers, and no workers waiting for work.”
Afternoon huddles provided opportunity for teams to review their day’s activities and make any changes needed to remain—or get back—on track, and at the end of each week, LeChase produced a Percent Promises Complete (PPC) Tracking Report. It showed work hours by each entity, charted issues and the lessons learned from them, calculated the percentage of PPC for the week, and set an agenda to discuss improvements going forward.
Following their lean path, the team achieved some impressive results. Most notably, they delivered the casino on design, under budget and ahead of schedule—enabling the owners to open for business several weeks earlier than originally planned.