White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

Why small and medium construction enterprises do not employ six sigma

Tutesigensi, A. and Pleim, V. (2008) Why small and medium construction enterprises do not employ six sigma. In: Dainty, A., (ed.) Proceedings of 24th Annual ARCOM Conference. 24th Annual ARCOM Conference, 1-3 September, 2008, Cardiff, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management , pp. 267-276. ISBN 978-0-9552390-1-4

Available under licence : See the attached licence file.

Download (144Kb)


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 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 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. 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 construction industry and the flexibility of 6σ as a quantitative approach to managing quality. Construction industry stakeholders need to think about 6σ critically and make informed decisions about its role in the construction industry quality management agenda.

Item Type: Proceedings Paper
Keywords: construction industry, performance, quality management, six sigma, small and medium enterprises.
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Engineering (Leeds) > School of Civil Engineering (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ms Caroline Wilson
Date Deposited: 01 May 2009 16:40
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:06
Status: Published
Publisher: Association of Researchers in Construction Management
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8547

Actions (repository staff only: login required)