Construction improvement – How to use DMAIC Six Sigma method?

Understand and learn DMAIC six sigma method on this simple example of bathroom re-construction. A few simplea changes can dramatically improve any process. Even it looks like there is nothing to be changed.

This article covers:

  • Construction problem definition
  • Understanding current construction problems
  • DMAIC – Measure phase
  • Construction analyze phase example
  • DMAIC – improvement on re-construction
  • DMAIC project deliverables
  • Key takeaways about DMAIC six sigma
Goal definition – one of the very first project steps

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Construction problem definition

Building mania company is focused on interior re-constructions. They have enough work negotiated in advance with agreed start dates. However they are not able to accomplish it on time in most of times.

Josef, the owner, often ask customers (Voice of customer) how they are satisfied with finished reconstruction. Usual answer is: you did a great job with quality of delivered work. What would we appreciate more, is the timing according agreed schedule. Josef knows, they are right. And decided to do something about it.

Goal definition is clear. Within 3 months he would like to improve work organization to run 100% according agreed schedule. Josef thinks, it is doable.

5 easy ideas for (not just) first Green belt project – read here

Download DMAIC tools list, If you would like to follow tools I suggest allways to use.

Download working DMAIC tool list for your usage

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Understanding current problems

Team did a mapping of last job – the bathroom reconstruction. Process starts with job offer creation. Visit of the place to be reconstructed, customer delivered desired bathroom plan, with vision of used equipment. However, customers wanted to have work done within 2 weeks. Josef calculated job price, estimated work duration, and 2 weeks term was doable, when they work during weekends.

How to do Value stream mapping (+templates) – read here

Process map and efficiency calculation – you can use stickers for mapping

Download 8 wastes of lean

It is great to have waste types on paper with you during Gemba. Download it, use it, and share it.

8 deadly wastes of lean

And here is promised link:

DMAIC – Measure phase

Estimated times for each job shows that, if everything runs well, the sum will be 14 days. This time is value added time. But in reality, this job was done in 35 days, which is 5 weeks. 14 divided by 35, times 100, is calculated process efficiency. Result is 40%. 60% of the time is wasted. Question is, why it took so long to finish this job?

There were unexpected required operations, like floor collapse, that nobody could predict. On the other hand, there were also many non-value added activities in between operation. Delay of bathroom equipment arrival by 10 days. All equipment was ordered by Building mania company. Missing water tube connections delayed work by 2 days. This influenced plumber schedule, as this is outsourced work. It Caused another 2 days delay.

Fast food restaurant example – six sigma training video

Construction analyze phase example

Another delay was by not correctly estimated time for walls tiling. It is because customer wanted smaller tiles dimensions, that Josef calculated. Another 4 days delay.

What team have realized, there were many waiting times, influenced by not having material on time, or in advance.

Team created future process. To run reconstruction properly, key are operations during offer creation. Josef prepared standard form, that helps him to not miss any detail during offer calculation. Next, what team agreed is, that they will not start work until whole materials is in place. Usually it takes 5 days to get bathroom accessories. They can still run other jobs in parallel.

DMAIC example in warehouse – read here

Future state process mapping – discuss each process step and address challenges

Green belt project selection – calculator

I recommend you testing project idea on project calculator, I have developed based on my training experiences. It will help you to determine, how demanding leading project will be for you.

THis is how my calculator looks like

Selection tool downolad

You can download selection tool on the link below:

DMAIC – improvement on re-construction

Next thing, what they agreed on is creating time schedule. It will help visualize each job progress, evaluate delays, and react on them faster. Daily schedule update will be done and will be reviewed with customer if required.

Unexpected situations happens very often. There are hidden things behind the walls, or under the floor, that nobody can predict it happens about in 70% of the jobs. Therefore, Josef will always add 15% as a spare time to each job. This was also implemented to the offer form.

Implementing changes was a little difficult. It required consistency on each new work approach. It took few weeks to get used to daily progress reviews. There were selected people responsible for each task.

Majority of the time, it is a commonsense usage, that drives changes.

erik from six sigma mania

I do videos, blog posts, and all templates for free, in my free time. I will appreciate if you can donate me a cup of cofee, for more energy in my creation. (1 dollar counts, too 😉 Click on this link: I would like to support Erik in his effort

DMAIC project deliverables

Customers are happier -feedback is more positive. Building mania started to be recognized as company that is able to fulfill due dates, and keeping great quality work done. Company doubled employees within one year, because good name and more and more customers approaching it.

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Key takeaways about Six Sigma DMAIC:

  • It is a robust process improvement method
  • It is a team effort on not obvious problem reason resolution
  • There are 5 phases – Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control
  • Improvement targeted based on data analysis
  • Reduces variation in processes, in other words , repeatability is improved
  • First understand current problems and pains to enable improvement changes
DMAIC Six Sigma – why to use it?

Do not be afraid to learn Lean Six Sigma tools. Do not be scared of heavy statistics, or using a lot of mathematics.

Erik from six sigma mania

95% of the time I do not use it, at all. I do not like statistics. I do not like collecting data. Yes, there is a measure and analyze phase. But it only sounds terrible. In our example, cooks were able to drive changes. And they used watches to measure, and logic, that told them where to improve.

DMAIC Six Sigma example in Manufacturing – read here

Do not forget to visit and subscribe my YouTube channel. I am uploading Six Sigma, Lean and Project oriented videos regurarly. So, stay tuned.

Yours sincerely Erik.

Six Sigma DMAIC – reconstruction training video

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