Outsourcing logistical activities have become a widely used approach for firms to avoid high fixed costs and heavy investment requirements and to achieve competitive advantages. Lean six sigma (LSS) has been accepted globally across sectors as a management strategy for achieving process excellence. The purpose of this paper is to feature the application of LSS for improving the supplier selection process (SSP) of outsourced logistics services in a multinational health-care company.
This study is based on an action research case study conducted on the SSP of the freight and distribution department in a multinational health-care company. This paper reports on the application of the LSS define-measure-analyze-improve-control (DMAIC) approach for reducing supplier selection lead time.
The study features a real-world case study of the LSS DMAIC application to improve the supplier selection process of a large health-care company. The key issues that were identified are lack of information visibility, top-down changes and unclear communication lines. To counteract these three root causes, the lean six sigma techniques that are implemented are the 5S, stakeholder analysis and standard operating procedure.
This research provided empirical evidence of how practical challenges in SSP can be managed with the use of LSS. It further proposed plausible solutions for reducing and sustaining improved outcomes. As the study is limited to one case, the validity of the results can be improved by including more organisations and more case studies from other similar organisations.
Research in supplier selection processes rarely links continuous improvement ideology such as LSS to support strategic selection and procurement of logistics services. This paper could serve as a resource for both practitioners to derive useful implications and to academicians as it contributes to the LSS body of knowledge for further theory testing.
Tay, H.L. and Aw, H.S. (2021), "Improving logistics supplier selection process using lean six sigma – an action research case study", Journal of Global Operations and Strategic Sourcing, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 336-359. https://doi.org/10.1108/JGOSS-05-2020-0025
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