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Why small and medium construction enterprises do not employ six sigma

By A. Tutesigensi and V. Pleim


Six sigma (6σ) is a powerful business strategy which is aimed at increasing customer satisfaction and profitability by improving the quality of products and services. Many\ud organisations have implemented 6σ and achieved significant levels of success. Successful implementation of 6σ leads to outcomes that would be welcome in the construction industry, given its reputation of suboptimal performance. The construction industry relies heavily on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Any improvement in construction SMEs would lead to improvements in the construction\ud industry as a whole. Against this background, a survey was undertaken to establish whether construction SMEs used 6σ and to identify factors affecting the adoption of this business strategy. It was found that none of the SMEs in the sample used 6σ.\ud The reasons given for not employing 6σ, in descending order of importance, were: lack of knowledge about 6σ programme; lack of resources (human, time, money); 6σ programme not required by customers; other sufficient quality system in use; 6σ provides no perceived benefits; and end users not prepared to pay for 6σ programme. These reasons can be challenged when a critical analysis of innovation in the external environment within which construction SMEs operate, trends in the mode of delivery of construction industry products, trends in performance measurement in the\ud construction industry and the flexibility of 6σ as a quantitative approach to managing quality. Construction industry stakeholders need to think about 6σ critically and\ud make informed decisions about its role in the construction industry quality management agenda.\u

Publisher: Association of Researchers in Construction Management
Year: 2008
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