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Lean Principles at KAEFER - KAEFER South Africa

Getting things right the first time.

Imagine yourself on a construction site. A worker is idly waiting for materials to be delivered. But they haven't turned up yet. Many times, in these cases, people will be afraid to say ‘boss, I have a problem’ because they don't want to be seen as not working. That wastes time. That’s not lean.  

Lean is ensuring that it's ok to talk to the boss and identify issues. As well as solutions and suggestions for improvement. And Lean Site Management guarantees that the right materials are at the right place at the right time, in the right amount and right quality.  

It is not about reinventing the wheel, but rather about optimising a proven concept and ensuring that the wheel runs smoothly without any interruptions. Which means employing simple measures such as planning and performance management – thinking about what to do before, during and after a shift and how to achieve agreed goals.  

We call getting things right the first time heading towards ‘True North’. That involves creating stable workflows, working with optimal crew sizes, comparing actual and expected performance as well as root cause analysis to further improve the process.


Chal­lenge con­ven­tional be­liefs – without chal­lenge there can be no pro­gress.


Ex­per­i­ment – try it or you’ll never know.


Tol­er­ate fail­ure – im­prove­ment re­quires pa­tience.


Trust – im­prove­ment can­not res­ult in loss of jobs.


Work as a team – total op­tim­isa­tion rather than local (in­di­vidual) op­tim­isa­tion.


Be flex­ible – ri­gid struc­tures/​policies will limit pro­gress.


If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t understand what you are doing

Lindile Nojontsholo
Local Lean Leader

Lean has offered me an engaging work environment. It has given us a chance to think outside the box and find new ways to continuously improve and achieve remarkable results

Emma Chiriya
Matimba Power Station – Lean Coordinator