When it comes to reducing variation in the manufacturing process, Six Sigma has proven to be an effective methodology. It allows organizations to streamline their operations by reducing or eliminating defects in production processes. As such, the business output is improved, leading to cost reduction, customer satisfaction, and increased bottom line. And with its emphasis on continuous improvement, organizations become poised to carry on the improvements into the foreseeable future and experience more gains.
Luckily, Six Sigma works on all processes (not just manufacturing). Even when it comes to an organization’s logistical processes, Six Sigma can be used to identify mistakes or defects and eliminate them to reduce the amount of variability. Here’s how Six Sigma can be used to improve logistics.
A high occurrence of mistakes in the logistical processes can significantly reduce its efficiency. To eliminate mistakes, Six Sigma has a useful tool known as the Poka-Yoke. This is a Japanese term that means “mistake-proofing,” and it is a device or mechanism that forces a person to do something one way (the right way).
A famous example is starting an automatic car. When the car is in drive, it does not start since you can’t turn the key. This is because starting it in the drive will cause the car to jerk forward. This usually happens in a manual car when you attempt to start the car when it is in gear since it has no Poka-Yoke for that. Only when you put the automatic car in park or neutral will it start.
Another way Six Sigma helps eliminate errors is through 5s process. It allows organizations to create a highly organized work environment to minimize the chance of mistakes happening. The 5s stand for:
- Set in order
Reduction in Cycle Time for Order Fulfilment
Order fulfillment involves moving a product from the point of purchase to the customer’s door. If this takes longer than the customer expected, satisfaction will be decreased. Not only does Six Sigma help ensure that the goods get to the customer on time, but it also ensures that they get there faster.
Through Six Sigma, organizations can analyze their order fulfillment process and identify problems that increase cycle time. They can then rectify the problems to ensure bring down cycle time. This can be done using the well-known DMAIC methodology. They can, for example, find out that cycle time can be reduced by minimizing the amount of paperwork needed or automating the verification of shipping documents.
Increasing Order Fulfilment Efficiency
An efficient order fulfillment process gets products to customers on time and in perfect condition. Furthermore, all documentation will be accurate and complete. Through the reduction of cycle time, streamlining of the logistics processes, and elimination of mistakes, among others, the order fulfillment process becomes highly optimized.
Six Sigma is a process that can be used to improve any process, even if it is logistical in nature. By doing things like eliminating mistakes and reducing the time it takes to get products into the customer’s hands, an organization can transform its logistics system. All this will translate to more revenue and growth.