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What Does Kaizen Mean, And How Will It Help Your Construction Business?

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What Does Kaizen Mean, And How Will It Help Your Construction Business?


“Kaizen” is the phrase of the moment for most startup businesses these days, and it’s easy to understand why. The philosophy speaks to maximized value with minimal waste, something any business owner strives to achieve. In the construction industry, Kaizen, or “lean construction,” is all about identifying the unnecessary factors in the design and building process, reducing the total cost, and streamlining the entire project. We’ve unpacked five ways Kaizen can help your construction business.

[Read More: How To Help Your StartUp Construction Business Grow]

What is Kaizen?

Directly translated from Japanese, Kaizen means “change for better” or “continuous improvement.” As academics and entrepreneurs alike tried to uncover the success of the Toyota Production System in the 20th century, the philosophy of Kaizen started to gain more and more traction. Its inherent characteristics focus on production, but they’ve developed into a new model perfect for the construction industry.

You’ve undoubtedly heard the term “lean construction” before; this is Kaizen at its best. By integrating the knowledge and insights of the entire construction team, collaborating in the process, design, and material efficiencies of a project, businesses can achieve tangible long-term gains.

The primary goal of Kaizen is to avoid waste; this can be anything from resources to materials on site. By eliminating waste and upping productivity, you’ll reduce costs which is an enormous opportunity for construction startups.  

Transforming your business into a “lean” one isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s a long-term play that may take some time to implement. Project by project, you’ll start to experience the tangible benefits of Kaizen, creating a company culture that’s desirable to many.

What are the Kaizen principles?

The Kaizen methodology follows five main principles.

  1. Know your inefficiencies – understanding where your shortfalls are and how you can improve your productivity.
  2. Zero waste – a company-wide goal to eliminate waste, introducing a new sense of focus.
  3. Gemba – the Japanese word for “the actual place,” finding your true value as a business.
  4. Empowering people – creating clear directives and goals, equipping everyone with the tools they need to succeed.
  5. Transparency – identifying tangible and visible results to highlight continued improvement.

Five Ways Kaizen Can Help Your Construction Business

1. Create organizational buy-in, boosting productivity

Ensuring your organization understands the importance of the Kaizen methodology can generate a sense of ownership and commitment. Instead of operating on a series of solo efforts, there’s a sense of unity, a group buy-in to succeed.

Believe it or not, the employees closest to the issues on the ground are often the best-equipped to solve them. Inefficiencies can be uncovered anywhere. Whether it’s waste on the construction site or a process that’s too time-consuming back at the office, take the time to evaluate every step of the journey. It will become the foundation of your Kaizen efforts, by offering all of your staff the support they need to improve, you’ll be empowering them, boosting morale and productivity.

2. Utilize your current resources

Kaizen focuses on improving your output, utilizing your current resources. Instead of hiring new employees to solve your issues, tackle problems in-house, focusing on continuous small achievements. By making small changes regularly, you’ll eliminate the expensive investment massive improvements tend to require.

Think inside the box, looking at minor adjustments with big rewards. It could be as simple as switching from paper timesheets to a time tracking app like Connecteam or Hubstaff. This would eliminate time cards, streamlining your payroll. Manage your contractors in one place using Knowify, a digital platform where you can do job costing, bid contracts, track your employees’ time, and regulate your flow of paper by going paperless.  Small tweaks like this are easy to implement, yet everyone feels their benefit.

3. Improve your quality, cost and schedule

Historically customers have usually had to choose between quality, cost, and schedule. More often than not, forfeiting one of them. Kaizen allows you to achieve all three.

Some of the tools you can use to incorporate lean construction include:

  • Target costing – an organizational shift from expected costs to target costs that focuses on delivering customer values within project constraints. Target costing determines the cost of the build before the design period, dictating the design parameters. Traditionally costs were done after the design phase, making it easy to go above budget.
  • A3 problem solving and reporting – improving collaboration, outcomes, and problem-solving with concise project updates.
  • Set-based design – keeping design options flexible for as long as possible. Rather than selecting one option from the get-go, set-based design looks at a wide range of solutions. It allows you to be more nimble in the event of an unexpected or new constraint.
  • Value stream mapping – identifying non-value-adding activities, revealing opportunities for improvement.

4. Reduce your safety losses

By identifying the links between unsafe practices and waste, you can watch your productivity and profit rise. Overproduction, processing waste, construction delays, and inaccurate inventory are safety hazards to your construction business.

Something as simple as unnecessary transportation can affect you. Are your workers making several trips to Home Depot instead of creating a consolidated list? Identify ways you can ensure your team has everything they need on the job site by 6:00 am. Stay on top of your inventory and equipment by introducing daily audits for your material supplies. Incorporate a management system like Sortly to assist you and spend some time building a network of suppliers to avoid bottlenecks with any third-party vendors.  

Operating under a Kaizen methodology forces you to address these concerns by improving your productivity and creating a safer environment for your employees.

5. Increase efficiency

A well-planned work area reduces unnecessary operations or tasks. Ensure your employees acquire the information they need. Invest time into your onboarding process, highlighting safety protocols, job site rules, and career goals. Making your workforce more knowledgeable will reflect in their everyday performance. Construction is currently one of the least digitized industries, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Look at ways to incorporate mobile technology, building information modeling, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence.  

These Kaizen principles ultimately drive efficiency, creating a sense of camaraderie. It’s about working together to implement a new way of operating, eliminating the resistance so often associated with change.

Start Maximizing!

Kaizen takes time. It’s a long-term solution designed to help your construction business succeed. Start by educating your company, getting everyone on board with this new way of thinking. Coach your employees and implement that mindset of continuous improvement. Before you know it, you’ll be operating as a lean business at its best.



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Marketing operations talent is suffering burnout and turnover

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Marketing operations talent is suffering burnout and turnover


“It’s hard to hire; it’s hard to train; it’s hard to keep people from burning out. To make matters worse, these challenges have intensified so swiftly that leaders have hardly had time to digest them, let alone mount a defense.”

That’s the main takeaway from “The State of Marketing Operations: 2022,” a new report from junior marketing ops training platform Highway Education and ABM leader Demandbase. The findings were based primarily on a survey of 800 marketing operations professionals from organizations of all sizes, more than half from mid-sized companies.

The demand for talent. The vastly accelerated shift to digital marketing — not to mention sales and service — has led inflated demand for MOps talent, a demand the market can’t keep up with. Two results: burnout as too much is demanded of MOps professionals; and turnover, as it’s easy to find alternative opportunities. The outcome for companies is the growing burden of hiring and training replacements.

Use of marketing software has grown two and a half times in less than ten years, according to the report, and the number of marketing operations professionals, across organizations of all sizes, has increased by two-thirds. Use of marketing automation alone has grown 228% since 2016, and there has been a 66% growth in the size of MOps teams just since 2020.

Perhaps most remarkable, 93% of MOps professionals learned on the job.


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Why we care. Providing beginner MOps training services, Highway Education clearly has an interest in this data. At the same time, there can be little doubt that the demand for MOps talent is real and growing. If there’s a surprising figure here, it’s that use of marketing software has grown only two and a half times in the last decade.

AWS MOps leader Darrell Alfonso, quoted in the report, says: “There’s a disconnect between marketing strategy and the actual execution — what it takes to actually operationalize and bring a strategy to life. Leadership, especially the ‘old guard,’ will be more familiar with traditional methods like field marketing and commercials. But now, during the pandemic and post, there’s an entire digital world that needs to be
managed by people who know what they’re doing.”

Read next: More on marketing ops from Darrell Alfonso


About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.



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Product Market Fit with Scott Cunningham [VIDEO]

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Product Market Fit with Scott Cunningham [VIDEO]


Scott Cunningham, CEO of Social Lite and Co-Founder of Merchant Mastery, has worked with thousands of ecommerce stores. The one thing he hears ALL. The. Time? 

“Facebook doesn’t work for my business.”

If you’ve said that about your ecommerce store, listen in as Scott shares what’s missing and how you can overcome that hurdle and start selling.

In this video:

  • Start Here to Sell More: 00:22-00:30 
  • What If I’m Selling a Brand New Product? 00:51-1:02
  • The Formula for Winning in Ecommerce: 1:21-1:34

Learn more about ecommerce:

The Future of Ecommer Marketing Is Now ➡️ https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/future-of-ecommerce-marketing/

Use This Framework to Build Ads That Move Product ➡️ https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/offer-harmonics-scott-cunningham/

NEW for 2022! Become an Ecommerce Marketing Master ➡️ https://www.digitalmarketer.com/certifications/ecommerce-marketing-mastery/




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Antitrust bill could force Google, Facebook and Amazon to shutter parts of their ad businesses

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Antitrust bill could force Google, Facebook and Amazon to shutter parts of their ad businesses


A new Senate antitrust bill could make Google, Facebook and Amazon divest portions of their ad businesses. 

The Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act (S4285) would prevent large ad companies from participating on different sides of the ad transaction chain. It would ban them from operating more than one of these functions: supply-side brokers selling publisher ad space, demand-side brokers selling ads, or ad exchanges connecting buyers and sellers.

Image from CDTA factsheet

The bill, introduced yesterday by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and co-sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), bans companies earning more than $20 billion in annual digital advertising revenue from participating in the online ad ecosystem in a way that creates conflicting interests. 

It also imposes consumer protection rules similar to ones governing financial trading. Under the law, businesses with more than $5 billion in digital ad transactions annually would have to: 

  • Act in the best interest of customers by getting the best bids for ads.
  • Provide transparency customers can verify that.
  • Create firewalls between their buying and selling operations if they are allowed to operate both.
  • Treat all customers the same concerning performance and information related to transactions, exchange processes, and functionality.

“Digital advertising is dominated by Google and Facebook,” Sen. Lee said in a statement. “Google, in particular, is the leading or dominant player in every part of the ad tech stack: buy-side, sell-side, and the exchange that connects them. For example, Google Ad Manager is used by 90% of large publishers, and in the third quarter of 2018 it served 75% of all online display ad impressions. Google uses its pervasive market power across the digital advertising ecosystem, and exploits numerous conflicts of interest, to extract monopoly rents and stack the deck in its favor. These monopoly rents function as a tax — upwards of 40% — on every ad supported website and every business that advertises online, collectively a huge segment of the modern economy.”


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The new law is a response to the anti-competitive practices Google has been accused of. These include Project Bernanke, the focus of an antitrust lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of more than a dozen states. The suit claims Google ensured ads booked via its AdX system would win ad space auctions. 

“The conflicts of interest are so glaring that one Google employee described Google’s ad business as being like ‘if Goldman or Citibank owned the NYSE,’” Sen. Lee said.

Read next: Is there any incentive to crack down on programmatic ad fraud?


2022 MarTech replacement survey


About The Author

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.



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