Leonard S. Fiore, Inc.: Operational Excellence Design Sprint

, Leonard S. Fiore, Inc.: Operational Excellence Design Sprint, Future State Engineering

Leonard S. Fiore, Inc.: Operational Excellence Design Sprint


Located in Altoona, Pennsylvania since 1954, Leonard S. Fiore, Inc., a 3rd generation family-owned business, is a general contractor with a focus on commercial construction. While their reach goes as far as New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland most of the construction work they do is in central Pennsylvania.  LS Fiore executes four types of construction projects which include:

  1. design-build projects where they take the design under contract,
  2. negotiate projects in a design-assist format where they can work with designers whom a customer has already contracted,
  3. build facilities for private business clients, and
  4. bid and execute projects for government/public construction agencies.

The needs of this industry are typically quick response and reliability in terms of delivery. Leonard S. Fiore builds large scale, high-quality facilities and as part of the long-standing service to their customers, they wanted to cement being a trusted building partner in a challenging industry. Customers can suffer from late handoffs, decisions, and information internally within the company.

The Case for Change

Patrick Irwin, Vice President, along with Bill Weaver who is Leonard S. Fiore’s in-house craft trainer, led the effort to address the internal issues. “We want to be proactive. When we don’t have a solid flow of information and work coming through the company, we must be reactive to fulfill commitments on the back end,” he said. When this happens, the organization faces some negative impacts including:

  • Not utilizing their resources effectively which cause delays on projects,
  • Not completing work when supposed to which can have quality implications, and
  • Pushing project completions up against deadlines causing stress for team members involved with the projects.

To overcome these challenges, Leonard S. Fiore Inc. contracted with Future State Engineering (FSE) to help them address their issues. By performing a seven-week Future State Design Sprint, the company was able to:

  1. get an appreciation for the pain points that internal team members were creating for each other,
  2. get agreement on the issues that different positions were facing,
  3. discuss, talk through, and agree on the root causes that were creating the problems, and
  4. define the necessary and sufficient conditions to go from the current reality to the future reality.

Key benefits of the project were: 1) gave Leonard S. Fiore Inc. a holistic look at what the current issues were, 2) brought in key personnel allowing them to see the whole company from the vantage point of others, and 3) it infused fresh thinking for the project managers, estimators, and superintendents as well as for the operations and executive teams because it showed the pain points of the positions they’re not occupying. Irwin stated, “This was a good educational opportunity for all involved, gave them an occasion to work together on something other than the specific projects and the daily tasks, and brought us up a level to think about things in a different way than we were currently doing them.”

The Result

After conducting the Future State Design Sprint, it allowed Leonard S. Fiore Inc. to identify priorities and to put an action plan in place which they are currently implementing. Additionally, for those who were involved in the Design Sprint, it gave them a different mindset and concepts that they can apply to the projects they are working on. Finally, they are using the current reality, future reality, and goal tree together to communicate to the workforce the initiatives moving forward. In a Future State Design Sprint, we identify “What to Change”, “What to Change To”, and “How to Cause the Change”. If you want to learn more regarding a Design Sprint and what it can do for your organization, email Future State Engineering at info@futurestateengineering.com.

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