Channels: The Ever-Expanding Presence of Pipeline Workshops™

The principles and disciplines that apply to homebuilding production grew out of decades of work by SAI on behalf of individual homebuilder clients, designing their production and business systems, mapping their business processes, measuring performance, assessing capabilities, implementing team-based performance compensation.

In turn, that client work led to the publication in 2013 of The Pipeline: A Picture of Homebuilding Production©, which integrated all of the “pipeline-thinking”.

Pipeline Game (staged logo 4)

The publication of the first edition of that book led to the ongoing series of open Pipeline workshops™ sponsored by BUILDER (and, variously, by BuilderMT and Continuum Advisory Group) that began in 2014, as well as the in-depth sharing of pipeline-thinking at the 2014 and 2015 Housing Leadership Summits and the 2014 BuilderMT User Conference;  and, the first of the series of Pipeline workshops™ revealed the need for a second, expanded edition of The Pipeline – published in 2016 – to codify the enhancements to the Pipeline game™.

It has now come full circle.

In the skull sessions between Hanley Wood Media (and, sometimes BuilderMT), Continuum Advisory Group (now a Pipeline workshop™ partner), and SAI Consulting, the concept of workshop “channels” emerged – the idea of Pipeline workshops™ developed to meet the specific needs of diverse participants in the value stream.

Initially, we identified five distinct channels:

(1)  the original, open, sponsored Pipeline workshops™;

(2)  Pipeline workshops™ conducted privately for builders of sufficient size;  if necessary, delivered on a division/market basis;

(3)  private Pipeline workshops™ sponsored by manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers for the benefit of their builder customers;

(4)  open, non-sponsored Pipeline workshops™ for the benefit of manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers, to give them insight into the current production operations of their builder customers and the direction of the homebuilding industry towards solutions;  and

(5)  private Pipeline workshops™ sponsored by builders for the benefit of their suppliers and subcontractors.

Over the course of the next several months, we will deliver one or more private Pipeline workshops™ onsite to larger builders;  through Hanley Wood Media, we will deliver a shorter Pipeline seminar™ to a select group of CertainTeed’s builder customers as a pilot that will lead to more events in that channel;  we will deliver another Pipeline seminar™ at the front-end of the 2016 Builder Technology Summit (formerly known as the BuilderMT/Sales Simplicity User Conference).

And, of course, in mid-October, we will do our sixth open, public, sponsored Pipeline workshop™.


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

Pipeline workshops™ and Pipeline seminars™ are designed to transfer in-depth knowledge and create an intuitive, instinctive understanding of production principles and disciplines specifically related to homebuilding production management;  they are intended to not just inform builders’ thinking, but to reform it – they challenge and test their understanding of how production systems work, and how daily operating decisions drive business outcomes.

Using exercises from the RB Builders: Lessons from the Pipeline© business case study, the progressive series of production scenarios and business games known as the Pipeline game™, and the deep-dive discussion groups known as Velocity Accelerators, Pipeline workshops™ and Pipeline seminars™ simulate homebuilding production in the real business world, in an environment of variation and uncertainty, where operating decisions produce economic results.

The imperative behind Pipeline workshops™ and Pipeline seminars™ is simple:  a builder that generates a Gross Margin of 24% and turns its inventory twice a year will be outperformed – by better than a two-to-one margin – by a builder that generates a Gross Margin of 18%, but turns its inventory four times a year.  It will be outperformed in terms of Net Income;  outperformed in terms of Net Income Margin;  outperformed in terms of Return on Invested Assets.

That is the comparative performance picture of two builders – one with cycle time of 180 days, one with cycle time of 90 days – that are exactly the same size, when the real measure of size is the amount of work-in-process each has to carry.

These two builders have exactly the same resource overhead, exactly the same working capital requirements, and exactly the same risk profile.

Come.  Participate.  Learn.