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Six Sigma within Construction Context: As a Quality Initiative, Performance Indicator/Improver, Management Strategy

Six Sigma was developed in 1980s in manufacturing industry and became popular as a process improvement method. However, the adoption of this concept is new in construction industry and the aim of this study is to evaluate Six Sigma as a process improvement method within construction context.

This study includes Literature Review and three interviews. Literature Review had discussed process improvement methods used in construction industry and analyzed the basic features and principles of Six Sigma.

Three interviews were conducted about the basic principles of Six Sigma and Quality Concept. Interviewers are a Project Manager, Field and Cost Engineer. The approach of the interview to Six Sigma is based on quality, performance and management aspects.

This study defends that there is no doubt about the positive effects of Six Sigma on construction projects. Particularly, Six Sigma can provide a broader quality concept, detailed performance measurement, coordinated and repeatable process/performance improvement. It has increased quality directly/indirectly and has positive effects on production efficiency.

As a management approach, Six Sigma is discussable within construction context due to differences of manufacturing and construction industry. Since construction industry includes lots of unrepeatable tasks and different process design techniques, Six Sigma does not seem applicable as a whole management approach in construction industry.

Furthermore, it can be integrated to the existing management procedures of companies. Taking everything into consideration, it is obvious that Six Sigma has a lot in order to accelerate fundamental and cultural challenges construction industry needs.
Source: KTH
Author: Muharrem Firat, Yilmaz

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