Archive for June, 2019

We are SAI Consulting

Posted June 22, 2019 By Fletcher Groves

Looking for a consulting firm willing to be your business partner?

Our consulting firm is engaged exclusively in the residential construction vertical, on behalf of clients that are intent on improving operating performance, profitability, and economic return.  We are uniquely qualified to serve our clients’ interests, because we have solved problems and implemented solutions as the senior managers in enterprises just like theirs.

Our knowledge and experience within a specific industry – combined with the depth of our consulting methodology and the choice of approaches we offer in how that consulting is delivered – sets us apart from any and all other consulting firms.

  • We are not a solution in search of a problem.  We focus a distinctive, systems-oriented, constraints-management problem-solving methodology at addressing an individual client’s specific set of operational circumstances.
  • We work with clients either under a conventional, fee-based consulting approach, or under a results-based (value-based) consulting approach;  under a results-based, or value-based, approach, we are compensated exactly like our clients’ owners, teammates, and financial statements – solely as a share of the results that our consulting enables clients to achieve, measured in terms of the actual improvements to business outcomes.
  • Conducted in multiple channels, Pipeline workshops™ and Pipeline seminars™ feature the type of learning that occurs in a production situation constructed to replicate the competitive, fast-paced, rapidly-changing, uncertain, risk-laden, variation-filled operating and business environment in which our clients must operate.
  • We wrote the book:


Our clients engage us because:

  1. We have a firm grasp of the operational performance issues they face, and we structure our work in ways they understand;
  2. We focus the effort to improve operational performance directly on a specific sequence of solutions that rapidly translate into increased profitability and higher economic return;
  3. We are the leading experts in our chosen areas of consulting, including business workflow, team-based performance compensation, and production management;
  4. We synthesize a broad range of widely-accepted management tools into customized business solutions;
  5. We are committed to a type of consulting and client-consultant relationship defined by economic value, business results, and shared benefits, one that is fully-conscious of the existing capacity and capability for implementing change, and fully-intent on producing learning that increases internal capacity/capability and lessens dependence on us.

If you would like to know more, you should visit our website:


“In his second edition of The Pipeline: A Picture of Homebuilding Production©, Fletcher L. Groves III provides another invaluable tool to those who manage a home building production business.  Combining his in-depth experience in the construction industry with a passion for its business aspects, Fletcher describes practical guidelines for improving the velocity side of the ROA.  Fletcher recognizes that this is the best way a homebuilder can achieve what he calls ‘competitive separation’.

The Pipeline: A Picture of Homebuilding Production© Second Edition is a ‘must-read’ for all of those home builders that are determined not just to survive, but to thrive.”  (Carlos Alvarez, President, Alvarez Construction, Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

“Be prepared to dog-ear and highlight.  Fantastic book chocked full of practical, useful strategies for a production home builder.  It’s like a mini MBA for the home building professional.  I returned today to purchase another copy for a friend who is the most veracious student of the industry I know… I’m sure he’ll love it.”  (David Keller, Keller CDD, LLC, Construction Design Documents for Architecture and Engineering, Orlando, FL)


The Pipeline: A Picture of Homebuilding Production©, Second Edition, is the latest in Fletcher Groves’ collection of work that uses real examples and lessons learned to educate the reader on the application of principles and disciplines needed to successfully manage a homebuilding production system.  The story contains a revised Pipeline game™ that simulates the risks and rewards based on the decisions a company can make when navigating through the ever-changing environment in which decisions are made.  The updated game is more representative of a homebuilding operation in today’s marketplace and it’s worth the purchase.  This book is a must-read and it will have a significant impact throughout your entire organization.”  (Jeff Kornblau, Vice President, Land Acquisition, Eagle Construction of VA, LLC, Glen Allen, Virginia)


The Pipeline: A Picture of Homebuilding Production©, 2nd Edition, published earlier this month contains revisions to the Pipeline game™ that (a) introduces a shorter game with an operating statement that is a better reflection of a homebuilding operation, and (b) compares an integrated building model to an outsourced building model.

“The clarification of terms to those that are more familiar to the traditional homebuilder makes the game both more interesting and easier for participating in the process.  As with most simulations, being able to compare the game to the day-to-day reality of the operations within a traditional homebuilder provides ‘experiential’ understanding of the process and the results.

“Definitely a worthwhile read and exercise for increasing understanding, if you are intending to continue to improve your homebuilding operation.”  (Hoyt G. Lowder, HGB & Associates, LLC, Tampa, Florida;  former Director and Principal, FMI Corporation)


The Pipeline: A Picture of Homebuilding Production tells the story of how RB Builders learned the principles of homebuilding production in the turbulent years following the end of the period known as the “Age of Homebuilder Entitlement”.  It is a story told in the exchanges of dialog between team members, senior management, and RB Builders’ intrepid results-based consultant.

The result is a deep understanding of a production system with an enduring visual image, the elements of which are crafted to the specific conditions, requirements, and parameters of the homebuilding industry, and a realization that improving performance on the velocity side of the ROA equation is the best path a homebuilder has to achieving sustainable competitive separation.

The Pipeline is about the specific application of underlying principles and disciplines of production that are universal – physics rooted in the laws that govern all production systems.  The book is about using the tools that work for homebuilding production, without regard to the consulting religion from which they come.

The Pipeline makes the connection between operating performance and business outcomes.


The Pipeline: A Picture of Homebuilding Production©, Second Edition is available through the publisher’s bookstore, and from any of the main booksellers (,, or

It is always carried in-stock on


Pipeline Workshop™ No. 12: Save the Date

Posted June 8, 2019 By Fletcher Groves

The latest in the series of production management workshops in the open, sponsored Pipeline channel, Pipeline Workshop™ No. 12 will be held October 17-18, 2019, at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

“This is my second attendance to the Pipeline Workshops™.  All I can simply say is WOW!  Fletcher and his team strive to improve the workshops and make [them] even more relevant.  I especially enjoyed playing the Pipeline Game™ again and learning about [the] Velocity Accelerators®.  I look forward to attending in the future!”  (Carlos Alvarez, President, Alvarez Homes, Baton Rouge, LA)

“The Pipeline workshop™ was really effective in showing how operational decisions affect business outcomes and how risky a ‘more for more’ approach to growing a home building company really is.  The Pipeline games™ were not only fun, but they were super-effective in showing how unbalancing the production system, managing the constraint resource, and managing the right amount of WIP, creates predictable operational results and maximizes financial outcomes.

“At the end of the day, running a successful business is about how much money you make on the amount of money you invest.  The Pipeline workshop™ helped me understand this better than any workshop or seminar I’ve ever attended.

“I highly recommend it.”  (Charles Roberts, VP – Operations, Providence Homes, Jacksonville, Florida)

“The Pipeline Workshop™ completely changed my approach to meeting my company’s productivity and profitability goals.  I came away with several actionable items that I was able to implement right away.  Any homebuilder with an open mind, who is willing to challenge the traditional ways of thinking that our industry has grown comfortable with, will benefit greatly by attending.”   (Ryan Band, Unbridled Homes, Louisville, KY)

Welcome to the most intense, demanding, interactive, and challenging homebuilding production management learning experience on the planet.

And – we keep making it better.

In past workshops, we trended toward doing more with the Velocity Accelerators®;  beginning with the last workshop (Pipeline Workshop™ No. 11), we narrowed the focus, reducing the number of deeper-dives from five to just three – Business Process Improvement, Critical Chain Project Management, and Epic Partnering™ – and touching on the remainder.  The emphasis is now on what is immediately-available, while still casting a vision toward the future.

Doing fewer Velocity Accelerators® allows us to do more production scenarios with the best simulator and business game in the business, the Pipeline game™.  Pipeline workshops™ are now in their sixth year.  During that time, we have:  (1) shortened the game, made it faster, easier to understand;  (2) early on, introduced an operating statement format that mirrors the unique characteristics of homebuilding operations;  (3) found ways to transfer the learning – make the connection between operating decisions and business outcomes – faster;  and (4) begun to examine areas of disruptive innovation (for example, looking at what happens – what has to happen – when an outsourced building model becomes an integrated building model).

Pipeline workshops™ are unlike any other homebuilding conference.

The learning split is 70% simulation/business case, only 30% lecture;  the format is intense, interactive and competitive;  the Pipeline game™ production simulations and the RB Builders: Lessons from the Pipeline© business case test attendees’ understanding of production management, and challenge their ability to solve production problems.

Pipeline workshops™ build an intuitive, instinctive understanding of production principles and disciplines, and they draw the subtle-yet-crucial distinction between just being in the homebuilding business, and being in the business of building homes.

And – we somehow find a way to make it incredibly fun:  the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club is a terrific AAA Five Diamond oceanfront golf and tennis resort;  there is a relaxing and enjoyable reception at the end of the first day;  we offer recommendations on outstanding local dining;  plenty of opportunity for networking.

Creating a visual image of homebuilding production;  establishing the connection between operating decisions and business outcomes;  building a new way of thinking systemically towards solving core problems and managing constraints;  managing limited capacity and resources, doing more without more, doing more with less;  dealing with variation;  managing homebuilding production as the multi-project-with-surrounding-supporting-and-embedded-processes type of workflow that it really is;  placing the emphasis on the actions that accelerate production velocity.

The fundamental proposition of a Pipeline workshop™ is this:  thriving on the velocity side of economic return – thriving on the velocity side of Return on Assets – is the best way to create sustainable competitive separation.

Registration for Pipeline Workshop™ No. 12 opens July 8, 2019.

Come.  Participate.  Learn.


Here is the permanent link to the website:  As soon as early registration opens, all of the information, including the agenda and schedule, will be updated, along with the event registration and hotel reservation links.

The site also provides information about the workshop, provides reviews from builders who have attended previous workshops, and provides a downloadable Adobe PDF file with detailed information about the venue, agenda, and schedule.

The cost is $895.00 per person;  the cost during early registration (July 8, 2019 through August 9, 2019) is $750.00;  for team pricing, inquire here:  (


What to Change? What to Change to? How to Make the Change?

Posted June 2, 2019 By Fletcher Groves

(a version previously posted on Escape from Averageness® in November 2015, titled “A Preoccupation With Internal Perspectives”)

As a management consultant, the best, most actionable points of advice I can offer my clients are:  (1) build a commonly-held, commonly-shared sense of urgency towards results;  and (2) evidence that sense of urgency with a plan for implementing a focused process of continuous improvement – a prioritized series of initiatives, performed in a specific, consecutive order, that achieves targeted, defined, measurable achievements towards those results.

Points of advice that should beg these logical questions:  a sense of urgency towards what?  What kind of targeted, defined, measurable results should we be talking about?  A process of continuous improvement . . . focused on what?

The idea of continuous improvement implies a need to address issues, to solve problems;  if it was not a manifest weakness, or a threat, or a constraint, or a gap, or an inadequacy, or a problem, there would be no reason or need to improve it.

The nature of every accepted improvement methodology – be it Total Quality Management, Business Process Improvement, Lean Production, Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints – is to focus internally, on resolving operational issues, on solving problems, on dealing with quality issues;  done the right way, continuous improvement addresses the root causes of problems (not the symptoms);  done more comprehensively, it establishes the operational drivers of business outcomes.

There are certain realizations, realizations that become requirements.

One of the realizations of a process of continuous improvement is this:  operational planning (where continuous improvement lives) has to exist within the larger, more important context of strategic planning that establishes prerequisites and necessary conditions.  If that context does not exist, or if the existing context has not been updated, validated, confirmed – is no longer current, is no longer relevant – then there is no direction.

Another realization is this:  we live in a world of systems, which informs how we should think about and act upon continuous improvement;  “systems-thinking” is a way of reasoning, rooted in an understanding of cause-and-effect relationships, rooted in the interdependent nature of a system’s parts, rooted in ordered behavior, rooted in the way problems are solved.

Systems are not some loosely-connected set of independent and unrelated parts – a collection of processes, departments, systems, resources, policies, and other isolated pieces of a whole;  systems-thinking is about improving the performance of the system, not its pieces or parts – not any of the parts, not some of the parts, not even all of the parts, independent of one another.

Failing those realizations, you get one or more of the following occurrences:  (1) things can get improved that have no correlation with where your enterprise needs to go, with what it wants to be;  (2) it becomes reasonable to improve anything and everything you can, without regard to order, priority, or timing;  (3) continuous improvement becomes a burdensome effort of too many initiatives, often at cross-purposes to each other;  (4) what gets improved can be disconnected from – can have little to do with – the value homebuyers expect you to create for them.

Pardon the stranded prepositions, but before it is worth being good at something, you have to know what it is important to be good at.  And, before you decide to improve something, you have to know what you will get the most improvement from.  The question becomes, what do you have to do to get there?

Eli Goldratt had it right:  What to change?  What to change to?  How to make the change?

When you know what to do, you can figure out how to do it.