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

“The Pipeline game™ production simulations were a brilliant way to demonstrate and drive home the significance of cycle time improvements and improving trade partner efficiencies on ROA and Net Income.”  (Keith Porterfield, COO, Goodall Homes (now part of Clayton Homes), Gallatin, TN)

“The Pipeline Game™ is a great tool requiring the players to put into practice the principles taught in the workshop.  It’s a hands-on exercise that requires you to think, consider, and review the results of Critical Path versus Critical Chain.”  (Lisa Ramsey, Independent Consultant, Mark Systems, Mt. Holly, NJ)

“The Pipeline game™ was fantastic.  A force multiplier to the seminar.”  (Todd Schunk, Construction Manager, CalAtlantic Homes, Jacksonville, FL)

“The 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.

“This workshop was really eye-opening!”  (Charles Roberts, Vice President – Operations, Providence Homes, Jacksonville, FL)

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

Over the eight consecutive years they have been offered, we have made a number of additions and changes that improve the learning that Pipeline workshops™ deliver, most notably, adding the RB Builders: Lessons from the Pipeline© business case, with its challenging set of problem-solving exercises, several of which are used with another added component, what we call the Velocity Accelerators®.

Despite all the improvements, most attendees and observers will tell you that the most compelling part of a Pipeline workshop™ is the team-based simulation tool the entire workshop was built around.  Pipeline Games™ are a progression of production scenarios that produce business outcomes, a production simulator that reveals both the home building business and the business of building homes.

In addition to the open, sponsored Pipeline workshops™, we have used the Pipeline game™ at Housing Leadership Summits (now the Builder 100 Summit), at CertainTeed Builder Advisory Groups, at BuilderMT-Sales Simplicity User Conferences (now MiTek), with NAHB Builder 20 Groups, at the many private Pipeline workshops™ we have held for larger builders, and at other industry gatherings.

Pipeline Games™ reinforce the production principles taught in a Pipeline workshop™, most notably, the effect of variation and uncertainty on a production system, pull scheduling according to the capacity of a constraint resource, and the importance of connecting operating decisions – made on matters like flow, cycle time, capacity utilization, and the level of workinprocess – to the critical business outcomes of profitability and Return on Assets.

Look at the results from any of the previous 16 workshops, and you will see that the results never lie.  The following set of results are typical.  In every category – from Revenue, to the levels of Work-in-Process, to Inventory Turns, to Cycle Time, to Net Income, to Return on Invested Assets – the teams attending this workshop 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 comprehend 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 the co-equal components that comprise the measure:  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 learn to expect, if the underlying production principles are true, if those principles are being applied, and if real progress is being made.

As is always the case, the builders attending this Pipeline workshop™ clearly learned from their experience.

They learned the principles and disciplines of homebuilding production.

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

The difference is, 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 October 14-15, 2021, at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  Attendance is limited to just 30 attendees.  The cost is $895.00 per person;  the cost during early registration, open only through August 20, 2021, is $750.00.  For team pricing, inquire here (flgroves@saiconsulting.com).

Delivered by SAI Consulting.  Sponsored by Simpson Strong-Tie.

For more details:  www.buildervelocity.com