Lean Blog — 486: Mike Kaeding, CEO of Norhart, on Revolutionizing the Housing Industry with Lean

Episode page with transcript, links, and more: https://leanblog.org/486

My guest for Episode #486 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Mike Kaeding, the CEO of Norhart.

They design, build, and rent apartments. They are transforming the way this is done by incorporating technologies and techniques that have revolutionized other industries. This has resulted in improved quality and reduced cost of housing. Ultimately, they are committed to solving America’s housing shortage and affordability crisis. And in doing so they hope to improve the way we all live. 

He was previously (May 2023) a guest with me on the My Favorite Mistake podcast.

In today’s episode, learn how Kaeding’s company, Norhart, applies Lean practices to uplift the housing sector. Their compelling ambition to bridge the labor productivity gap between manufacturing and construction industries lies at the heart of their Lean journey.

From their unique recruitment strategies to their effective lean techniques, Norhart aspires to reshape the housing industry. Kaeding outlines their intrusion on tradition by focusing on continuous improvement rather than mere experience. Discover how their Lean approach emphasizes flow in both construction processes and material delivery, spotlighting Norhart’s determination to overhaul established construction norms.

Questions, Notes, and Highlights:

  • High-reaching mission — similar to Toyota
  • “The way we’ve always done it”?? How do you encourage everybody to get past that?
  • Hiring people who are willing to be different? How to do that?
  • How do you then maximize their potential?
  • The appeal of culture in hiring and recruiting?
  • Netflix “keeper test”?
  • “We want that person to be happier with us after firing…”
  • How to balance the right timing of hiring with growth?
  • Balancing jobs — cycle times and flows across trades? Material flow and synchronizing that
  • Toyota helping you on JIT — how to find this balance with long lead time or bad availability??
  • Mike on the My Favorite Mistake podcast
  • What’s your Lean origin story? For you and Norhart?
  • “Not knowing what I’m doing…” was a benefit
  • Working with TSSC?
  • How did they help you frame or choose that initial problem to solve?
  • “Problems are not a bad thing”
  • Your role as CEO? Creating that psychological safety?
  • Wanting to be the best at what you do? You as a CEO? What does that mean to you?

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in its 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.

This podcast was also brought to you by Arena, a PTC Business. Arena is the proven market leader in Cloud Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) with over 1,400 customers worldwideVisit the link arenasolutions.com/lean to learn more about how Arena can help speed product releases with one connected system.

This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network