Lean Six Sigma is usually used in manufacturing industries rather than construction. The main purpose of this research study is to investigate on the application of Lean Six Sigma in construction industry and also identify the obstacles that hindered its application. For this reason it was decided that interview should be held worldwide to achieve better result. This decision was made after the questionnaires where sent out, the answers where mostly similar which can make a good conclusion. However, the author has conducted four interviews four people from different countries of Iran, United Arab Emirates, Korea, and United Kingdom respectively. They are Mohammad Reza Fazeli, Ali Abbas Almaliki, Han and Dr. John Shaw (Teacher from University of Birmingham).
The author had concluded that these four interviewees were sufficiently robust for the purpose of this report due to the length of services of these people. The detail background of each individual and the conversation between the author and the interviewees are attached in Appendix X2.
The primary aim of these interviews is to discuss the highlighted issues, from responses to the questionnaire survey, in more details.
5.3.1 Knowledge on Lean Six Sigma
In this session, the interviewee’ questions were in association with their level of familiarity on LSS. Their general knowledge and understanding of LSS as well as their current state regarding to LSS at work was well identified.
5.3.2 Application of Lean Six Sigma
This area is about the issues that have been found through survey questionnaire such as reasons on why overall application of LSS is low and factors can that can improve the level of application and implementation of LSS in construction industry.
Concerning this issue, all the four interviewees have addressed the issue that respondents with less than three years working experience have studied at least one module of Lean Six Sigma or at least on Lean during their undergraduate studies. Nowadays, the high learning education department has made Lean as a compulsory subject as one of the university syllabus. Thus, it is likely impossible for fresh graduates to be unfamiliar with the term. On the other hand, for those with more than three years of working experience, if they do not attend any seminars, they will probably have zero knowledge about LSS. Nevertheless, the whole LSS as might not be implemented in construction industries but some of its components are involved.
5.3.3 Problems and limitation of Lean Six Sigma
5.3.4 Future outlook for Lean Six Sigma in construction industry
At the final part of the interview session, the interviewees have acknowledged their views on the anticipating changes in their relevant construction industry for the upcoming years.
As for Mr Almaliki he is satisfied with the regulations of construction industry in UAE. He believes that the basic standards for almost everything such as safety and services are stated in the regulations. The only thing he is not satisfied with is considering environment by providing more green space around the buildings. He proposes that government can play effective role in solving this issue by making it a mandatory requirement for all projects.
Last but not least, the industry should develop higher quality and green mark projects by considering sustainability concepts. X believes that with the implementation of LSS, these missions are achievable.
CHAPTER SIX: DISCUSSION
So far, many issues have been raised from literature review, survey questionnaire and interviews. Those issues are well-discussed in this chapter, in order to achieve the aims and objectives, which have been set during the inception of this study. In this chapter, the most significant findings are first compared from previous chapters so that valuable information can be concluded in the last chapter ”“ conclusions and recommendations.
6.2 Knowledge on Lean Six Sigma
From the survey, around 56.52% of the respondents are familiar with the term Lean Six Sigma 43.58% of the respondents have never heard of it. Surprisingly, one of the interviewees ”“ Mr Almaliki, has claimed that LSS is totally a new term for him and he has never come across this term before. The other interviewees expressed their views in a positive way, by stating that LSS has just started to be implemented in the construction industry.
According to Mrs Ooi, she has learned VM through seminars. During the interviews, she has emphasized that most of the practitioners do not practice LSS as a whole or systematically, but they do practice the components of LSS at work. For instance, most of the practitioners do cost checks, design development checks, estimation and comparative design economics. In short, those professionals do not term it as LSS, although the components are considered as part of LSS. As for Ms Huda, she has participated in one VM workshop for an iconic public housing project. She has contended that VM is an approach to do cost cutting during the development of design stage.
LSS is a relatively new term in worlds construction industry. Based on the author’s previous working experience, the knowledge of LSS among the practitioners is very low. In this context, most of the practitioners have heard of the term, but they hardly expressed the exact scope and meaning of LSS in a professional manner. This shows that there is a need to incorporate functional strategies in order to increase the knowledge of LSS among all of the practitioners.
6.3 Application of Lean Six Sigma
The author, relying on all the literature review that she has done throughout the report, strongly believes that LSS has been adopted widely in worlds’ construction industry. However, the responses from the survey findings have proved her wrong. Indeed, only approximately 17.39% of the respondents of the respondents have already implementing LSS in their company. It is somewhat surprising and disappointing where this occasion has been further supported by Mr Almaliki, as he has never applied LSS at work as well. When the author queried this issue to the other interviewees, Mrs Ooi and Ms Huda have addressed the reasons that led to this circumstance. Based on their working experiences, they strongly feel that most of the practitioners do practice the components of LSS, unfortunately, do not term it as LSS. As an example, comparative design economics and cost checks are the main tasks being carried out by the consultants in most of the projects. These tasks are considered as part of VM, though it is not conducted through a series of workshop or run by another independent team.
Significantly, the surveys’ findings have proved that LSS is more popular among those with less than three years of working experience whereas remain unpopular among those with more than Three years of working experience. In this situation, all of the interviewees have concluded that the main reason that induced this is the fresh graduates with less than Three years of working experience have at least undergone one year of LSS module during their undergraduate or postgraduate studies. As for practitioners with more than Three years of working experience, unless they attend LSS seminars, otherwise it is nearly impossible for them to be familiar with LSS.
In this issue, the author strongly believes that although fresh graduates have learned LSS during their high learning education, their knowledge is not competent enough to conduct any LSS study at work. In fact, fresh graduates are still new to the construction industry and they might face events which are out of their expectations. Due to that, they might become panic and make the wrong decision, which in the end might lead to cost and time overrun. Therefore, it is to the author’s perspective that belt system can be applied. Then fresh graduates with LSS knowledge can work as a team with the Master Black Belts or Black Belts when carrying out LSS. Eventually, this kind of interaction enables great enhancement in the knowledge of LSS and the advantages of LSS can be promoted, which is then leads to the increasing number of application of LSS in worlds’ construction industry.