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Six-sigma as a strategy for process improvement on construction projects: a case study


  • Rodney Stewart
  • Clinton Spencer


Significant expenditures of time, money and resources, both human and material, are wasted each year as a result of inefficient or non-existent quality management procedures. In an attempt to improve their market competitiveness, by limiting the extent of non-value-adding activities, some organizations are beginning to monitor the performance of internal and external engineering and construction processes. To achieve these bold aims, these organizations are looking to other industries such as manufacturing to examine the effectiveness of measuring and monitoring tools such as six-sigma. Only in recent years has the six-sigma method been utilized by some of the major players in the construction sector. To familiarize both researchers and practitioners on how to implement the six-sigma method and its potential benefits, the paper describes the outcomes of a six-sigma process improvement project (PIP) conducted for the construction of concrete longitudinal beams on the St Pancras raised railway station in London, UK. The outcome of the six-sigma PIP was the improved productivity of beam construction, enhanced interaction between project teams and reduced project delays. Moreover, interviews with key project participants were conducted to determine the success factors, barriers, suitability and advantages of the six-sigma approach compared with other TQM techniqes. In summary, the six-sigma approach provided the PIP team with a structured process improvement strategy to reduce waste and other non-value adding activities from the construction process.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodney Stewart & Clinton Spencer, 2006. "Six-sigma as a strategy for process improvement on construction projects: a case study," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 339-348.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:conmgt:v:24:y:2006:i:4:p:339-348
    DOI: 10.1080/01446190500521082

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    Cited by:

    1. Mehmet Tolga Taner, 2013. "Critical Success Factors for Six Sigma Implementation in Large-scale Turkish Construction Companies," International Review of Management and Marketing, Econjournals, vol. 3(4), pages 212-225.


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