A Case Study in Lean Construction: Southland Industries

Jul. 31, 2023

In January 2023, the Penn State Research Team investigators conducted a site visit, interviews, and observations of the operations at two construction projects for Southland's Union City office in northern California. The study documented Southland's approach to continuous improvement and highlighted their deeply ingrained Lean values and strong client orientation.

Southland focuses on Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA), which allows them to use the construction process and constraints as an input to the mechanical system design requirements. Southland's commitment to continuous improvement starts with their in-house design process, allowing them to integrate Lean principles into the project from the beginning. They also extensively use prefabrication, optimizing their capacity for projects and embedding Lean methods into their culture and behaviors. 

The practices observed by Penn State Research Team investigators underscore how Southland's pursuit of vertical integration connects all departments, aligning the company's direction. By standardizing their processes and procedures into their culture and behaviors, they ensure consistency and reliability, enhancing quality and reducing the risk of errors. 

The case study shows how Southland's continuous improvement approach has allowed them to deliver high-quality construction projects with their practices exemplifying how implementing Lean principles can drive excellence in the construction industry.

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About Southland

As an MEP building systems expert, Southland Industries provides integrated, full lifecycle solutions that optimize the design, construction, operation, and efficiency of buildings. Through collaborative partnerships with our clients and the collective expertise of our people, we create premier built environments and future-ready spaces where communities and businesses can thrive. 

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