By Peter Vogel, President & CEO

Lean principles are most often associated with the manufacturing industry. The concept of lean evolved out of the work of W. Edward Deming following WWII and developed into a systematic method of increasing customer value by eliminating waste. One of the most recognized champions of this process is Toyota Motor Corporation. Their philosophy became the Toyota Production System (TPS). TPS was developed mid-20th century and combines a management philosophy of empowering employees and manufacturing practices that add value to the customer by eliminating waste.

Lean practices are taking a foothold outside of the traditional manufacturing settings as customers across all markets see the added value of minimizing (or eliminating) waste in any process or system. These concepts are in keeping with society’s ever increasing awareness of the need to implement sustainable practices in everything we do in order to preserve the limited resources we all share.

The term might be relatively new to the construction industry, but Vogel Bros. has long been a lean construction company. For us, it’s not just an industry trend, but rather a philosophy that has been with us since inception. From management in the office, to our craft workers on the job site, continually adding value through an evolving workflow cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act is a fundamental concept we’ve been doing since before there was a name for it…

Lyle Vogel is the son of Henry Vogel (one of the two original Vogel brothers). Following his father, Lyle entered into the construction industry. His entire adult life he worked as a carpenter and then superintendent for Vogel Bros. Building Co.

Lyle is one example of our exceptional craft workers demonstrating our lean culture. This picture was taken circa 1960, so at first glance you just see a vintage photo of a construction worker with an antique truck. But take another look. We see the lean principle 5S.

Lyle would order his trucks without the manufactured cargo box. Instead, he constructed his own wood cargo box that was lower and had removable sides. This made loading and unloading much easier, allowing him to work quicker and with less effort. This simple adjustment is one element of a lean culture. Lyle organized his workspace for efficiency, effectiveness and safety, and then he continued to maintain and sustain this improved environment. Lyle was lean.

As we move through 2017, take a moment to applaud your fellow teammates at Vogel Bros. when they demonstrate principles of our lean culture – no matter how small. Tiny improvements add up over time to be very significant in our ability to add value for our customers. Follow us on Facebook and check back to our Newsroom frequently, as we will continue to share stories demonstrating our lean culture.