Think of it as a diet for your company. That's the thought behind “lean construction” - eliminating waste and wasteful practices from your business - and the subject of the keynote presentation at the Fall 2005 Construction Contractors Alliance meeting, Oct. 12-14, Atlanta.

Dennis Sowards, formerly with Kinetics, spoke on applying the lean principles that came out of Toyota's manufacturing plant to the construction industry.

“Lean thinking is a shift of thinking between value and waste,” he said. “Value is what the customer is willing to pay for. Everything else is waste.”

Waste in construction can be defects in materials, overproduction, inventory awaiting processing, unnecessary movement of people, unnecessary transport of goods, waiting, design of goods and services that do not serve the customer's needs, and not using talent.

Other presentations included Bruce Seigel's description of the Ritz-Carlton's legendary service; Chip Greene spotlighted his company, Greene & Associates in Macon, Ga.; and Lake Coulson of PHCC-National Association spoke on politics and the plumbing business.

Members also had the option of taking a tour of nearby Dupree Plumbing (Marietta, Ga.)

The next meeting will be February in Houston.