The Six Sigma strategy and the Lean Six Sigma strategy

The implementation of the Lean Six Sigma strategy may raise a number of problems. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the problem of the internal changes in organizations to improve the quality of internal business operations, products and services (Ehrlich, 2002). In fact, the improvement of the quality often involves structural changes, which involve the change of the position of professionals in the organizations. As a result, structural changes can deteriorate the organizational culture and undermine positive effects of changes.

In addition, organizations implementing the Lean Six Sigma strategy may face the problem of the resistance to change from the part of the personnel. This problem arises when organizations fail to inform their employees about the change. To put it more precisely, organizations may face substantial difficulties, when they start the change, while employees remain unaware of effects and goals of these changes. As a result, employees grow uncertain in their future in organizations and they fail to understand the position they will hold in their organizations, when changes are completed (Hoare, 2010). The growing uncertainty of employees deteriorates their performance and increases substantially the risk of conflicts in organizations. Naturally, in such a situation, the effective implementation of the Lean Six Sigma strategy becomes difficult, whereas its outcomes can be rather negative than positive.

Furthermore, there is always the risk of the informal leadership in organizations, which can raise unsurpassable barriers on the way to the successful implementation of the Lean Six Sigma strategy. In fact, informal leaders can resist to changes and a considerable part of employees may support them. In such a situation, organizations need to define informal leaders and persuade them to support the changes or, alternatively, organizations should enhance the position of managers to maintain their authority and to make them true leaders but not mere managers, who cannot cope with strong informal leadership.

5.1 Introduction
The research objectives of this study required critical assessment of the application of Lean Six Sigma in construction industry. Therefore as stated in Chapter 2, both survey questionnaires and interviews are conducted in this research study, in order to achieve the targeted aims and objectives. The following sections involve discussion on the feedbacks from survey questionnaires and interviews.

5.2 Questionnaire
At the beginning of the research, the author has designed and distributed the survey questionnaires to professionals in the construction industry. A sample of questionnaire has been attached to the Appendix X.
The questionnaire has been sent to 100 companies and a total of 23 have respond and returned the questionnaire. This is corresponded to a response rate of 23 percent. The respondents where from different countries and had different years of working experience.
The questionnaire has been divided into two sections:
 General Questions:
These include details about the person responding, such as their position within the company, their working experience, organization type and population.
 Lean Six Sigma Questions:
These are presented as multiple choice questions related to details on the LSS, including overall performance, issues and problems. The aim is to determine the applicability of LSS in construction.

5.2.1 General questions (Characteristics of respondents)
This section deals with the personal demographics of the main sample of employees in construction industry. Among the variables being examined were years of working experience, size and type of organization.

Based on the results it is clear that 52% of respondents had less than 3 years of working experience while 35% of respondents had 3-7 years of working experience. Then, this was followed by 9% with 7-10 years and 4% with more than 10 years. The most years of working experience among respondents was 52%, with less than 3 years of working experience. This indicates that respondents with less years of experience show more attention and cooperation to surveys. Figure X depicts this finding.

Based on the results it is clear that out of these 23 respondents, the main respondents were Contractors. This is the indication of the great attention of these groups attention to the issue (construction improvement).

As it can be seen in figure X, 6 of the respondents were from Large-sized contractor firm, followed by 4 respondents from small-sized consultant firm and another 4 respondents from small-sized designer firm. Subsequently, 2 respondents were from both small and large-sized contractor, as well as 2 respondents from large-sized designer. And finally 1 respondent were from both medium and large-sized consultant as well as 1 respondent from small-sized contractor.

5.2.2 Lean Six Sigma Questions (knowledge on LSS)
This part focuses on general knowledge of Lean Six Sigma and its application. It is an overall assessment on application of Lean Six Sigma in construction industry.
 Question 1: “Have you heard about the term Lean Six Sigma (LSS)?”
The replies to that question are displayed in the figure below:

In general, most of the respondents around 56.52% have heard about Lean Six Sigma, 21.74 % of the respondents have little knowledge, 21.74% of them know clearly and 13.04% of the respondents have already worked with LSS. Last but not least 43.58% of the respondents have never heard of Lean Six Sigma.
 Question 2: “What is the current state of your company regarding to Lean Six Sigma?”
The replies to that question are displayed in the figure below:

Significantly, the overall application of LSS is extremely low in construction industry where there are 56.52% of the respondents have no plan for implementing LSS in the next 5 years and only 17.39% of the respondents are already running LSS. Though 26.09% are planning to implement LSS in the next 5 years, this can show that people are getting more familiar with this strategy and its application. It is also a clear confirmation to LSS success in Construction industry.

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