Six Sigma and Quality Improvement in EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction)


Construction companies find it harder to compete at a global level due aggressive competition and a higher demand for quality at a lower price. In order to utilize limited resources, every project must be organized and have control measures set in place so as to minimize defects and maximize output while keeping quality in check.

The EPC is a form of contract where the contractor takes charge of virtually every process. In the event of a price fluctuation, both parties are at risk especially the contractor. The EPC can be a complex system due to many players (sub- contractors, designers, and M&E technicians and consultants) and variation due to global position. The major factors that affect the EPC’s efficiency are;

• Price fluctuation
• Variation of material and labour cost due to location of the project

Six Sigma improves quality in the EPC by improving customer satisfaction, reducing defects, reducing response time between players, and managing labor and resources.

The greater part of construction companies have procurement issues, and a lot of time and resources are spent making the decision of how to procure, when to procure, and which procurement method should be employed. The Six Sigma concept provides a way to identify key issues and defects in all processes involved in the project, measure defects and quality, creating room for improvement, and analyzing products to meet quality standards. This is all done in order to satisfy the customer.

The Six Sigma concept has tools that further define a process. There are also strategies such as the DMAIC (define, measure, analysis, improvement and control), DFSS (design for SIX Sigma) and the DMADV (define, measure, analyze, design and verify). These tools and strategies go a long way in improving quality and the efficiency of each process in a project.

DMAIC operates on the principle of defining the scope, budget, goal time duration and possible problems and solutions of the project. These are then documented and serve as reference during the course of the project execution process. DFSS changes the way the product is seen by redesigning the whole process. The goal is to determine the needs of the customer and produce accordingly.

Six Sigma distinguishes itself from other concepts by not only maintaining a standard but by continuously improving the quality of the product (material or service). This is done by measuring the quality and analyzing the deviation recorded with the aim of exercising more efficient control measures.

Leave a Reply