Pipeline Workshops™: Shattered Instincts and the Learning Curve of Production Management

Pipeline workshops™ are a size-limited, intense, interactive, comprehensive, industry-specific immersion into the principles and disciplines that drive homebuilding production.

Now in their sixth year, we have made a lot of additions and changes to improve these events.  For example, we have added the RB Builders: Lessons from the Pipeline© business case with its challenging set of problem-solving exercises;  many of those business case exercises deal with another component we have added, what we call the Velocity Accelerators®.

Nevertheless, most attendees and observers will tell you that the most compelling part of a Pipeline workshop™ is the Pipeline game™, in which teams of geographically-diverse builders go through a progression of production scenarios that produce business outcomes;  a production simulator that simultaneously covers both the home building business and the business of building homes.

It is the same Pipeline game™ we have used at Housing Leadership Summits. at CertainTeed Builder Advisory Groups, at Builder 20 Groups, at Pipeline workshops™ held privately for large builders, and at Builder Technology Summits.

Pipeline Games™ reinforce the production principles taught in the Pipeline workshop™, including:  (1) the effect of variation on a production system, (2) pull scheduling according to the capacity of a constraint resource, and (3) the importance of connecting operating decisions made on matters like flow (of sales, starts, and closings), cycle time, capacity utilization, and the level of work-in-process, to the critical business outcomes of profitability and return on assets.

You could look at the results from any previous workshop.  The results never lie.  Take this one.  In every category – from Revenue, to WIP levels, to Inventory Turns, to Cycle Time, to Net Income, to Return on Invested Assets – the teams made remarkable progress towards targeted performance, often exceeding expectations.

Look at the results, and you will see something else:  the teams rarely started out that way.

The game has changed, so the metrics have changed.  And, you clearly have to play the Pipeline game™ – see the measures and calculate the results for yourself – in order to fully understand what the axis values mean;  instead, focus on the performance trends (y-axis), as the games in this workshop progressed (x-axis).

This was Revenue . . . higher . . .

This was inventory turn . . . faster . . .

This was cycle time, expressed in days . . . shorter . . .

This was Net Income Margin . . . better . . .

This was Return on Assets, a reflection of its co-equal components:  Net Income Margin (margin) and inventory turn (velocity) . . . higher . . .

After the initial shock of shattered instincts, every metric was in precisely the direction you would want, precisely the direction you would expect, if the underlying production principles are true, and if real progress is being made.

Like the builders attending every Pipeline workshop™, the builders attending this workshop clearly learned from their participation.

They learned the principles and disciplines of homebuilding production.

Pipeline games™ teach builders to “see” production;  they simulate the environment – fast-paced, rapidly-changing, filled with uncertainty, risk, and variation – in which homebuilding production decisions must be made.  It is learning based on experience and action, not words.

Pipeline games™ compress the learning curve.

In a Pipeline workshop™, the progression of the games mirrors the progression of the learning.  In the book that gave rise to the workshops (The Pipeline: A Picture of Homebuilding Production, Second Edition©), this is how they were described:

“Change is a necessary condition to any improvement effort, but change is difficult, disruptive, time-consuming, and costly;  the effort can fail to produce the desired – the intended – result.  Learning needs to occur without so much cost, disruption, and risk.  Managing production and improving operating and financial performance becomes intuitive and simple, but there is much to understand.  It is counter to what is taught, therefore, difficult to grasp;  it must be learned, and that is harsh when it occurs at the cost of real operating performance and actual business outcomes.”

Come.  Participate.  Learn.

 

The next Pipeline workshop™ will be held at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, on March 20-21, 2018.  The cost is $895.00 per person;  for team pricing, ask flgroves@saiconsulting.com

Delivered by SAI Consulting and Continuum Advisory Group.

Sponsored by MiTek Industries and Specitup.

Details:  www.buildervelocity.com