Lean Six Sigma for Disaster Evacuations: Case Study

AuthorEngelbert Zefaj
European Journal of Economics, Law and Social Sciences
IIPCCL Publishing, Graz-Austria
Vol. 4 No. 1
January, 2020
ISSN 2519-1284
Acces online at www.iipccl.org
Lean Six Sigma for Disaster Evacuations: Case Study
PhD Engelbert Zefaj
This paper addresses the response to the emergency situation that occurred during the
evacuation and shelter of people a ected by natural disaster. This paper provides e ective
techniques and tools that, if used properly, facilitate e ective emergency management. To
conduct this study, the brainstorming method and Lean Six Sigma (LSS) tool and techniques
are used. These LSS tools and techniques have enabled problem identi cation, process
streamline and well coordinated joint actions. This paper is a case study that is realized based
on the actions of an emergency team to assist evacuees who were a ected by the earthquake
in Albania in November 2019. This study brings real experiences how emergency teams
have acted to manage the arrival of evacuees. Hundreds of people have been evacuated,
housed in safe homes, provided with food, clothing and health care. With the involvement
of many parties, public institutions, non-governmental organizations, volunteers and private
businesses, continuous care was provided until the day they voluntarily sought to return to
their home country.
Key words: Lean Six Sigma, Public Sector, Disasters.
Throughout history, humanity has always been confronted with various natural
disasters that appear as res, cyclones, oods, earthquakes, thunderstorms, tsunamis
and other forms. Natural disasters create grave situations and force citizens to evacuate
to other safe places for their lives. Due to various factors, evacuating people is di cult
and requires everyone to be involved. However, based on the power given to them by
the governing system, the public institutions are primarily responsible for managing
these crisis situations. According to the logic of the citizens, it is claimed that the
public sector is at the service of the citizens of its own country in all dimensions and
is responsible for all managerial aspects including emergency situations (Arceneaux,
& Stein, 2006). Public sector is responsible for anticipating and preventing problems
that endanger the lives of citizens but it is also responsible for acting on resolving
problems when they are already present. Estimating the cascade e ect in any given
disaster becomes a critical factor in assessing the demand for housing, sanitation,
economic activities, telecommunication, psychological counseling, or other services
(Comfort, Ko, & Zagorecki, 2004). According to Lassa (2013), Jing and Besharov (2014)
public and private sector collaboration is essential in modern public administration
and in responding to the events a ecting society, particularly in disaster management
(as cited in Sahin, Tunc, & Ozsarac, 2019). Collaboration is a term used to describe
the relationships between organizations when partners need to work towards a
common goal to solve complex societal problems (Curnin & O'Hara, 2019). In order
to help citizens facing problems of di erent nature, the public sector needs to develop
Vol. 4 No. 1
January, 2020
European Journal of Economics, Law and Social Sciences
IIPCCL Publishing, Graz-Austria
ISSN 2519-1284
Acces online at www.iipccl.org
strategies, build methods, nd ways and create di erent action plans to solve their
problems. Public institutions should have applicable strategies that enable them to
act quickly at the time they are required (Ford & Schmidt, 2000). Emergency cases
caused by natural disasters are situations for which institutions must always be ready.
Public institutions usually have crisis management action plans, but they are o en
not applicable at the time required, and this was con rmed in the days when the
earthquake in Albania occurred in November 2019. Driven by the created situations
that I, as the author of this study, have experienced directly and actively, this paper
has also been realized. Not to be exaggerated but, a er the earthquake in Albania,
on the evening of that day, there was a Kosovo-wide in ux of a ected families and
individuals seeking relief, shelter and temporary rehabilitation. Since the early
moments of the crisis, it has been reported that over 1000 individuals have reached
Kosovo that have been distributed in di erent cities, some of them about 500
individuals also came to the city of the author of this study. In these moments, the
municipality faced operational di culties in the early hours because there was any
prepared plan for their reception. From the earliest moments there was a need to
organize emergency teams to assist evacuees coming from across the border. Coming
in uncontrolled way and distributing them uncontrollably to di erent areas was
creating confusion. In this situation we lacked a crisis management plan and there
was no one to guide citizens on the right actions. The condition of those a ected
by the earthquake was psychologically grave and was constantly aggravated by
inaccurate and intimidating news being published on social media. According to eld
reporters, in the place where the earthquake occurred, the weather had worsened,
thunderstorms and winds had started and citizens were le in the middle of the road.
This was an indication that the number of new arrivals would increase in the coming
hours. This situation required mobilization to host and accommodate people coming
from the crisis site. In the absence of a dynamic action plan that should describe
the crisis level, outline the needs and modes of action, inputs, processes, intended
outcomes and the new situation created, the mayor's o ce, emergency department,
some volunteers, the police, medical teams and humanitarian organizations agreed
to come together, to plan and act for helping the evacuees. An urgent step was to
create an action plan that would focus on rapid, cost-e ective, defect-free, inclusive
action. So, in this situation, it was required to design an action strategy se ing out
methods, tools and mechanisms for crisis-controlled management. For problem
solving, as an emergency team, it is decided to use action methods based on the Lean
Six Sigma management concept and to present it to the emergency team. Problems
encountered while operating in an emergency situation involving individuals and
families a ected by the earthquake were addressed. Speci cally, the problems were
noted in:
1. Reception of evacuees,
2. Shelter (housing) and providing continuous care,
3. Provision of food, clothing and hygiene material

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