Logistics services and Lean Six Sigma implementation: a case study
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International Journal of Lean Six Sigma
Case studySupply ChainLean Six SigmaLogisticsContinuos improvement
Leopoldo Gutierrez-Gutierrez , Sander de Leeuw , Ruud Dubbers , (2016) "Logistics services and Lean Six Sigma implementation: a case study", International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, Vol. 7 Iss: 3, pp.324 - 342. [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/43989]
Purpose This paper aims to analyze the application of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) framework for supporting continuous improvement (CI) in logistics services. Both the lean philosophy and the Six Sigma methodology have become two of the most important initiatives for CI in organizations. The combination of both alternatives – LSS – brings significant benefits for companies applying this method, and its influence in logistics services can be relevant. Design/methodology/approach A case study on the logistics services of a large consumer electronics company is performed. In this sector, high quality in logistics services is crucial. Using within-case and cross-case analyses, the paper discusses the implementation of LSS in two internal logistics processes. Findings The paper identifies important implementation aspects when applying LSS to logistics services, such as CI structure, strategic analysis, cross-functional teams and process management. Furthermore, the paper discusses the potential in logistics services of the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve and control) approach and tools such as value stream mapping, SIPOC (supplier, input, process, output, and customer) and process mapping. Practical implications The paper analyzes two logistics processes where LSS has been applied – a payment process and a request-to-ship process. The analysis of both processes offers relevant information about organizational implementation in a logistics services environment about process improvement and about the use of LSS tools. Originality/value First, this paper addresses the gap in literature about LSS and logistics’ activities. Furthermore, the case company, with more than 9,000 employees and distributing its products to more than 100 countries, constitutes a valuable source of information to obtain insights into the implications of implementing LSS in logistics services.