For more than three decades, Sturgeon Electric has used its ‘Rocks in the Road’ program as a problem-solving activity to overcome communication and teamwork barriers on projects.
The program fosters collaboration among various project participants early on, and everyone is given an equal voice to share past successes that can be leveraged, as well as potential obstacles. Collectively, participants then develop root cause, action plans, and timelines to affect positive change.
Operations Manager George LaClaire has used this proactive planning tool capaciously, witnessing time after time how it aids the strengthening of relationships and delivery of successful projects.
He has been instrumental in expanding its use and acceptance throughout Sturgeon Electric, as well as externally among clients, owners, and other trade partners.
A strong advocate for Sturgeon Electric’s adaptation of lean practices, George has been an integral part of this cultural shift that has transformed the ways Sturgeon Electric performs, communicates, interacts, and engages with each other. Lean practices include many tools and methodologies that work to eliminate waste and improve flow efficiencies, with the goal of being better tomorrow than you are today. One lean approach is the use of “A3 Thinking”- a structured problem-solving and continuous improvement approach that provides a simple and strict procedure to guide problem-solving. George recognized that Rocks in the Road was an ideal process for implementing A3 thinking.
In late August, George conducted the “Rocks in The Road, An A3 Thinking Experience” workshop that was hosted by the Lean Construction Institute (LCI) of Colorado at the Association of General Contractors (AGC) headquarters in Denver. He invited members of LCI and AGC to attend, with the goal of attracting a multi-disciplinary audience.
The interactive workshop content and format were well-received by the 36 attendees who represented a strong cross-section of construction professionals ranging from architects, owners, general contractors and mechanical and plumbing trade partners. Two Lean Construction Institute representatives were also in attendance and are working with George to further develop Rocks in the Road to make it an approved LCI offering so it can be distributed to various LCI communities of practice.