Getting Closer to LEAN

LEANHow far away is your nearest printer? How many steps does it take to get a drink of water? How long does it take to find a file on your computer? If the answer is more than 30 feet or longer than 30 seconds, you need to keep reading!


At McKenney’s, many of our employees are familiar with the 30/30 rule. The 30/30 rule is a LEAN tool that reminds us that everything we need to do a task should be within 30 feet or 30 seconds. We ask our field leaders to work on a pre-task plan (PTP) for every task they will perform in a day. This plan should focus on any safety concerns related to their work as well as an analysis of whether the task is compliant with our 30/30 rule. Are all the tools, materials, equipment, information and people necessary to complete the task available and within 30 feet or 30 seconds of the work area? This means that we need to understand all the risks associated with the task as well as look at everything we will need to complete it.


Application of the 30/30 rule can directly eliminate the waste of motion. By reducing steps and time spent looking for things, we can be more efficient and provide value to our customers with fewer resources.

30-30 Magnet_with bleed


If you think your work area is compliant with the 30/30 rule, ask a co-worker to find a necessary file without help. If it takes them more than 30 seconds, you have an opportunity to improve! There are a lot of ways to make your personal work area 30/30 compliant. This could be a desk, job site, shop floor or garage. Some places to get started are labels and color coding. Another idea that is often successful is removing cabinet doors or replacing drawers with shelves. Cabinets and drawers can hide a lot of clutter and create treasure hunts that can consume valuable minutes.


The next time you start a task, think about how many steps you take or how long you spend looking for things you need to accomplish the task. What are your ideas to make your work 30/30 compliant? I would love to hear how you implement this simple and powerful rule!


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About Dan Cotton


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Dan Cotton is the manager of Virtual Construction at McKenney's and is responsible for our BIM and CAD modeling teams. He has been a member of the LEAN Construction Institute (LCI) since 2011 and is currently a core team member of the LCI’s Georgia Community of Practice. Dan holds a Six Sigma Green Belt certification from Georgia Tech and led the LEAN efforts at McKenney's from 2010 through 2013. Prior to his involvement in Virtual Construction and LEAN, Dan was a project manager in the McKenney's New Construction division for six years.

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