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Improving university facilities services using Lean Six Sigma: a case study

Mohsen F. Mohamed Isa (Department of Civil Engineering, Wayne State University Detroit, Michigan, USA.)
Mumtaz Usmen (Department of Civil Engineering, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA.)

Journal of Facilities Management

ISSN: 1472-5967

Article publication date: 2 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a case study on the use of Lean Six Sigma principles and tools to study the improvement in design and construction services at a university. The quality of facilities services at universities has been criticized by users calling for improvement.

Design/methodology/approach

Quality of facilities services at universities has been criticized by users calling for improvement. The purpose of this paper is to present a case study on using Lean Six Sigma principles and tools to study improving design and construction services at a university.

Findings

It was found that non-value-added general improvement review form (GIRF) process steps involving revisions and rework for the design and construction result in time delays, cost increases and quality deficiencies and render cost estimates unreliable; these are unnecessary and should be minimized or eliminated. It was additionally noted that administrative reviews and approvals embedded in GIRF processes slow down work flow, leading to similar problems. Because such steps may be needed for institutional reasons precluding elimination, it was recommended that efforts be directed toward reducing their durations and costs. Overall, the Lean Six Sigma methodology proved to be successful for the intended purpose.

Originality/value

Although universities are aware of their facilities services’ quality issues and have been addressing them, no published information is available on how to systematically evaluate and improve such services to increase customer satisfaction. This paper aims at filling this gap.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The cooperation and support of the Wayne State University Facilities Planning and Management Department in the implementation of this study is gratefully acknowledged. The findings and recommendations of the study are attributable solely to the authors.

Citation

Isa, M.F.M. and Usmen, M. (2015), "Improving university facilities services using Lean Six Sigma: a case study", Journal of Facilities Management, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 70-84. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFM-09-2013-0048

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited