John Sisk & Son Ltd is an innovative, international engineering and construction company, employing 1,200 people across its operations in Ireland, the UK and Europe. Sisk have been on the Lean journey since the late 1990s but undertook a step change in approach in 2016, recognising how core Lean principles matched the company’s focus on delivering value for customers and respecting and creating an efficient, safe and rewarding environment for all those who work with them.
The John Sisk & Son vision is “To be the best at Creating Value for our Customers, Shareholders and our People” and taking a leadership position in our industry in the use of Lean is a key part is helping us live up to this vision every day.
As part of making this real, our processes are structured and managed to continuously improve how we deliver value, to continuously improve our safety standards, to continuously improve the efficiency and speed at which high quality work can be delivered. This desire to innovate has been key to our growth and sustainability as a business which has been at the forefront of the construction sector for over 150 years
Formalising the Lean approach in Sisk
Following peer reviews and client consultation across both Ireland and the UK we formally defined Lean for Sisk as:
“An approach which uses a systematic methodology to create or deliver value” by:
- identifying precisely what is meant by “value” from the customer’s perspective,
- eliminating waste in all its forms,
- respect for people and what they can contribute
- “pursuing excellence” within a structured continuous improvement culture
The key concepts for us include “leadership by example”, accountability and ownership, and recognising that those closest to the working environment are often best placed to identify improvement opportunities. Our Lean approach also emphasizes the importance of the “visual” in the way work is structured, reviewed and reported.
We recognised that there were two streams of work to be done. One was on the way we operate as a company and the second was the operation of the projects we work on.
In 2016, we undertook an extensive consultation process with over 1,000 staff – 80 % of our directly employed workforce. This consultation was undertaken in the form of consultative workshops, the aim being to identify areas either of frustration or of potential improvement – either in processes or outcomes.
Hundreds of ideas were distilled into 42 work streams, prioritising 16 areas for immediate action. A “Lean Team” was established, charged with identifying and reducing waste and inefficiencies by mapping and analysing business processes.
Source: Lean Construction Ireland