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Future of Lean Six Sigma journey as a practical methodology in a digital and technological world of Industry 4.0 (SF19/MOS/SHOKRI)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Shokri
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

This project investigates the issues, challenges and opportunities in relation to complementary role that Industry 4.0 and Lean Six Sigma (LSS) can have to promote more competitiveness and profit growth in the future. The final outcome of this research is a validated and practical integrated framework to guide how LSS can align with Industry 4.0 in the early future. Having had the systematic literature review to expand knowledge background, the methodology of this project starts with a critical literature review to propose a conceptual framework constructed from various ingredients from Industry 4.0 (technological/digital measures) and LSS principles/methodologies. Then a survey analysis will be conducted to target broader population of practitioners and academics in digital business and LSS to validate the framework followed by a practitioner qualitative data collection (interview/focus group) and analysis to make the framework applicable for industries.

This research study has a niche contribution to the research and knowledge pool with a narrow emphasise on an integrated approach towards LSS, Industry 4.0 and digital business. This approach is currently unique and original in research and knowledge development. Despite few research studies about integration of Six Sigma and Industry 4.0, no research study was found to look at the practicality of this integration. This research provides practical framework for Lean Six Sigma and digital business practitioners that would like to pursue in both quality and digital paradigms of operations efficiency as part of Industry 4.0 era. Therefore, there is a great potential of providing novel and high-ranking research outputs as the result of this research project. This research also has significant practical and managerial contribution by introducing the practical guideline for managers of businesses that rely on digital/practical paradigms in their business strategy. This research project aligns with “Digital Living” MDRT in the Northumbria University.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF19/…) will not be considered.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Funding Notes

Please note this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend.


• Shokri, A. and Nabhani, F. (2018). Quality management vision of future early career Operations Managers: a model approach. International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 36(3), ISSN: 0265-671X, IF. 2.17, forthcoming (In Press)

• Nabhani F. Uhl, C. Kauf, F. and Shokri, A. (2018). Supply Cain process optimisation via the management of variance. Journal fo Management Analytics, 5 (2), ISSN: 2327-0012

• Uhl, C. Nabhani, F. Shokri, A. Kauf, F. (2017). Purchasing manages and optimises existing product variance. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 29(3): 430-448, ISSN: 1741-038x, IF. 2.194

• Shokri, A. (2017). Quantitative analysis of Six Sigma, Lean and Lean Six Sigma research publications in last two decades. International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 34(5), ISSN: 0265-671X, IF. 2.17.

• Uhl, C. Nabhani, F. Kauf, F. Shokri, A. and Hughes, D. (2017). Purchasing Management: The optimisation of product variance. Procedia Manufacturing, 11: 1366-1374, ISSN: 2351-9789.

• Shokri, A. Waring, T. and Nabhani, F. (2016). Investigating the readiness of people in manufacturing SMEs to embark on Lean Six Sigma projects: An empirical study in the German manufacturing sector. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 36(8): 850-878, ISSN: 0144-3577, IF. 4.371.

• Shokri, A. and Nabhani, F. (2015). LSS, a problem solving skill for graduates and SMEs: Case Study of investigation in a UK Business School curriculum. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 6 (2): 176-202, ISSN: 2040-416.

• Shokri, A. Oglethorpe, D. Nabhani, F. (2014). Evaluation of sustainability in the UK fast Food Supply Chain. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 25 (8): 1224-1244, IF. 2.194.

• Shokri, A. Oglethorpe, D. Nabhani, F. (2014). Evaluating Six Sigma methodology to improve logistical measures of food distribution SMEs. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 25 (7): 998-1027, IF. 2.194.

• Shokri, A. Nabhani, F. Hodgson, S. (2010). Supplier Development in a Food Supply Chain through Six Sigma. Robotics & Computer Integrated Manufacturing Journal, 26: 639 – 646, ISSN: 0736-5845, IF. 3.464.

• Shokri, A. Nabhani, F. (2009). Reducing lead time in a food distribution SME thorough simplified version of Six Sigma methodology. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 20 (7): 957-974, IF. 2.194.

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