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There is an excellent on-demand webinar, "Driving Operational Excellence Using Lean Six Sigma," by Susan Beauchamp (Delaware Valley Chapter, Aug 12, 2020).
Susan explains what Six Sigma is - a statistical term, a quality goal, methodology, et cetera; she provides the practical examples; she offers a simple framework of how to integrate Lean, Six Sigma, Agile, and PMBOK to drive operational excellence.
I highly recommend listening to it - it conveys brilliant ideas and produces a fantastic learning experience.
I am not an expert on that field but I worked a lot, mainly putting both approaches to work on construction. The answer is yes, but here comes the point where you have to take into account the environment and mainly culture because I can say that both, but mainly Lean, is a "way of living". From both, what finally was more suitable to put at work was Lean. And it worked to give benefits to the companies were I worked on it. Just my personal experience.
Moreover, to name a few Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques:
Cause and Effect Diagram, Flowchart, Check Sheet, Pareto Diagram, Histogram, Pareto Diagram, Control Chart, Value Stream Mapping, Scatter Diagram, DMAIC, SIPOC, FMEA, Gemba, Kaizen, Kaizen events, 5S, 5 Whys, Visual Management, Root Cause Analysis, Standard Work, A3, OEE Analysis, Capacity and Demand Analysis, Seasonality Analysis, Variability per Shift, Spaghetti Diagram, Activity Sampling, Hypothesis Testing, Time and Motion Study, Day in the Life of (DILO), Meeting Mapping, Skills and Training Assessment, Performance Board Assessment
Lean is absolutely applicable to any type of work as it encourages customer focus, flow of value and removal of waste in our delivery process.
Six Sigma might be a little trickier as that does require activities which are repeated at least a few times. An example in construction might be installing beams in a building - they need to be spaced at specific intervals with a minimum and maximum tolerance around the range. One could use SS tools to see if we are reducing the number of defects in our installation process as a result of some training or other process change.
Anywhere you have a process, you can apply lean principles.
Anywhere you have variability, you can apply six sigma. Some construction examples:
- An "asbuilt" is a survey to compare what was built with what was specified. It may be desirable to identify and work issues that drive those kinds of variances.
- Raw materials like concrete and steel have variances in composition and processing. Poor quality materials can result in poor quality products.
- Dimensional tolerances can drive a lot of rework like if the windows aren't the right size for the window openings.
- Cost variances can be driven by any number of things from estimating errors to customer change orders. You may want to figure out why your estimates don't match your actuals.
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