Cornish building contractor and developer Gilbert & Goode has become the first company in the world to achieve the international certification ISO 18404 for Lean and Six Sigma.
The certification was developed by a British Standards Institute committee chaired by Professor Tony Bendell to help organisations set up lean management systems, with a consistent approach, that is internationally recognised.
Professor Bendell comments: “Gilbert & Goode is the first UK construction company, and indeed worldwide, to have done this. It achieved this through active planning, outstanding senior management leadership and perseverance.”
ISO 18404 provides a dual approach towards lean management: creating a structured programme of training and development; and a formal framework to evaluate a company’s systems and processes for increased efficiency.
Simon Caklais, managing director at Gilbert & Goode, said: “The construction industry in the UK faces a massive challenge in terms of poor productivity. Many companies say they operate a lean approach, yet certification and competency in lean management is mixed and in many cases inadequate.
“By adopting a standardised approach and combining this with the necessary training and development of our staff and suppliers, we can be sure that we deliver projects to a high standard, reducing costs and time while improving safety and quality.
“Our aim is to drive waste out of all stages of the design and construction process, thereby increasing productivity, efficiency and build better buildings.”
The certification follows 18 months of hard work, developing procedures and competencies within the organisation, providing staff development and also training for members of the supply chain.
Dr Steve Ward, consultant at Lean Construct, who led the implementation of ISO 18404 at Gilbert & Goode, said: “Adopting a lean strategy within an organisation requires engagement at all levels if it is to become embedded into the company culture over the long-term.
“Fortunately, the senior team at Gilbert & Goode were all keen to adopt a lean approach, rigorously evaluate current systems and work towards ISO 18404. This has helped significantly with engagement across the organisation, as well as with partners and the supply chain.”
Gilbert & Goode worked closely with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to pilot ISO 18404 within the construction sector. Funding of just over £151,000 was awarded to Gilbert & Goode as part of the CITB’s Flexible and Structured Funding Programme.
Rachel Iredale, Evaluation Manager, Policy and Strategic Planning Team for CITB said: “CITB is delighted to learn that Gilbert & Goode has become the first construction company to be awarded the ISO certification in the management and maintenance of lean systems for construction services.
“Our industry needs to modernise and lean construction methods enable firms to minimise waste and maximise the value of their projects. Piloting ISO 18404 puts Gilbert & Goode at the forefront of driving improvement in the UK construction industry.”