Achieving Excellence in Lean Implementation at Construction Companies - A Case Study From Brazil

Caroline P. Valente1, Carlos Alexandre M. do A. Mourão2, Angela de B. Saggin3, José de P. Barros Neto4 & Jorge M. da Costa5

11 PhD Candidate, Civ. Eng., MSc, School of Built Environment, Univ. of Technology Sydney, Australia, [email protected],
2 PhD Candidate, Civ. Eng. M.Sc., Fac. of Engin., Univ. of Porto, Technical Director, C. Rolim Engenharia, Fortaleza, Brazil, [email protected],
3Civ. Eng. MBA, Technical Manager, C. Rolim Engenharia, Fortaleza, Brazil, [email protected],
4Professor, Dept. of Acad. and Technol. Integ., Fed. Univ. of Ceará, Fortaleza, Brazil, [email protected],
5 Assoc. Professor, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Portugal, [email protected],


Lean Construction has become a popular concept to improve performance and reduce costs in construction projects. Assessment tools and implementation strategies that focus on lean practices such as the Last Planner® System, the use of Kanbans, the routine of Kaizens and, recently, the integration with information technology are also common. However, barriers to the wide adoption of lean principles remain and implementation challenges continue to intrigue scholars. Previous studies suggest that barriers to the successful implementation can be either political, economical, social and/or technical, with the focus on lack of knowledge about lean concepts, resistance to the required organisational culture change, and lack of support from top management. Few studies present the lean implementation process from the practitioners’ perspective. Using the narrative enquiry methodology, the authors aim to describe how a construction company from Brazil matured from the implementation of lean operational tools to achieve excellence in the lean culture and mindset. Key themes that emerge from this study for a successful lean construction journey are; effort to stabilise the environment, knowledge creation and management, transparency in the process to enable simplicity and shared understanding, and building trust for further growth.


Lean construction, lean culture, lean implementation, commitment, enactment



Valente, C. P. , Mourão, C. A. M. A. , Saggin, A. B. , Neto, J. P. B. & Costa, J. M. 2020. Achieving Excellence in Lean Implementation at Construction Companies - A Case Study From Brazil , Proc. 28th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC) , 349-360.

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