Research Paper on Lean Distribution & Six Sigma: Quality Improvement & Customer Satisfaction

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1737 Words
Date:  2023-01-31


Lean management distribution entails the process of improvement of quality in the distribution channel through a systematic approach which drives the addition of value to the processes by eliminating or reducing the activities that do not add value to the processes. On the other hand, Six Sigma is a methodology which is based on data in solving organisational problems that put into account the variations and emphasis on meeting customer needs and therefore enhancing customer satisfaction. According to Ahmad and Azuan (2013, p.335), six sigma deploys approaches which improve the processes with minimal defects. Six Sigma defines the problem based on the organisational objectives, analyses the process with reference to the influencing factors, and outlines the potential improvements to the process. However, the improvements should be sustainable and guarantee to improve the entire process. Lean sigma six principles, therefore, incorporate both lean and six sigma in meeting customer demands. This involves waste elimination and reduction of the process and thus lead to an improvement in the quality and efficiency of the process. The principles of lean sigma six incorporate various elements which include the tools and techniques, procedures and methodology, and culture as well as a mindset (Ahmad and Azuan 2013, p.334). This literature review aims at highlighting if the incorporation of the principles of lean six sigma in the distribution of clothing in the Irish Defence Forces can improve the distribution with a comparison to US Army and the Italian Army.

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Role of 3PL in the Distribution of Clothing in the Irish Defence Forces

According to Capgemini Consulting and Langley jr (2016), the connection between lean and 3PL lies in the efforts of lean to manage wastes and improve production. Waste is driven by overproduction, which is the key factor for wastes as it impacts on the wastes in inventory, transportation as well as storage. According to Ekstrom (2014) to, lean and 3PL are connected under two vantages which incorporates the role of lean to the organization and the role of the customers in the implementation of lean and the interrelated value proposition to the organization. Therefore, the interaction is consequently categorised into internal and external vantage points with the role of lean to the organization serving as the internal and customer implementation serving as the external environment. 3PL drives operational success by engaging the drivers of 3PL through education programmes. As pointed out by Joong-Kun Cho, Ozment, and Sink (2008, p.338), the 3PL environment is mainly composed of team leaders, floor supervisors, unskilled, and skilled members as well as floor managers. Akter, in a study carried out in 2015, pointed out that the 3PL is the most significant opportunity for the implementation of organizational success through the relationship between the lean and 3PL. The considerable achievement is, therefore attained through the engagement of the key players in the internal environment (Coetzee, Van der Merwe and Van Dyk, 2016, p. 82). According to Ekstrom (2014), failure to embrace engagement is deemed a terrible underutilization or waste of humanity. According to Harps (2005), the team members on the floor encounter the problems, live the problems and feel the problems from the causative source and therefore, they can drive the problem-solving process from the root source. 3PL aims at addressing the issues from the root source and thus come up with a strategic and effective internal environment. According to Nordin, Deros,Wahab, and Rahman (2012), the various types of waste that can be managed include inventory, waiting, transport, motion, defects, overproduction and over processing. On the other hand, according to Joong-Kun et al. (2008, p. 357), the success of an organization is not dependent on the organization but mainly on the structure adopted by the organization in driving the success of the production process. The Lean six sigma can influence the success of the distribution of the clothing by the Irish Army. The study proposes the use of 7S strategy which involves staffs, strategy, systems, structure, skills and style. Lean six sigma promotes the quality of distribution and elimination of waste and enhance the satisfaction in the clothing distribution.

According to Keebler (2002, p. 3), the 3PL has evolved from the provision of basic services such as warehousing to freight transportation to the provision of highly discrete services. 3PL provides shippers with opportunities such as operational control, visibility, data on the supply chain, support on fulfillment, and end of life management of products. According to Rahman and Hamid (2019), the defense force can benefit immensely in by 3PL in the movement of freight between various logistics centres, depots, and field activities. The influence of 3PL in the supply chain is critical and can fundamentally add value to the Irish Defense Force through various approaches. 3PL reduce cost, improve customer satisfaction, allow for an enabling start-up environment as well as providing global expertise to multiple sectors. Therefore, the Irish Defense forces stand to benefit from the wide range of services offered by 3PL. According to Keebler (2002, p. 7), 3PL offers partial, and all logistics services in supply chain services and therefore, the defense force stands to benefit from the value-added services and the meet the personalized requirements in the distribution channel.

Similarly, as outlined by Hooks (2015), the process 3PL facilitates the development of new businesses by providing a platform for the development of new business management strategies. Keebler (2002, p. 5) cited that 3PL plays a role in basic warehousing services such as receiving, storage, picking, packing, and shipping. The warehousing services are significant in order fulfillment, creation, and management of involved labor, light manufacturing and redesigning of the clothing as per Irish Defense Force requirements. As outlined in the US Army application of 3PL, the global management of the distribution channels can be costly and therefore 3PL can aid in the customization, freight forwarding, consolidation of the more multiship containers and facilitation of the global logistics operations. Special services such acquisition of required talent for the implementation of the needs of the Irish Army's clothing distribution. Some of the services offered by the 3PL include channel fulfillment direct to store and online stores (Keebler (2002, p. 8). In this case, the Irish Army can focus on their functioning and rely on 3PL on the distribution of clothing and meet visibility and efficiency-enhancing their satisfaction. 3PL is taking over the organization's social corporate responsibility by involving the society in the functions of the organization through hiring and meeting the society expectations. Any organization has responsibility to the society to embrace the environmental sustainability. Freight transport and warehousing impact on higher carbon level in the atmosphere (Piecyk, Browne, Whiteing and McKinnon, 2015). The consumption of energy in the recent years is increasingly higher due to the higher energy demands on the road transport. The question of sustainability is raised which increases the need for adherence to sustainable operations. The application of Triple bottom line strategy by organizations therefore advocates for sustainability in organizational performance. According to Piecyk et al. (2015), cutting carbon emissions in the atmosphere is crucial in attaining sustainable transport. The Irish Army clothing distribution would offload the role of ensuring sustainability to 3PL which collectively addresses environmental issues such as reducing the carbon emissions. According to Piecyk et al. (2015), 3PL can promote green logistics in establishing environmental sustainability. The results by the study conducted by Piecyk et al. (2015), indicated that green logistics contributes to the reduction of carbon emissions.

A study by Rahman and Hamid (2019), analysing factors that impact on the logistics performance in the Malaysian Army advocate the role of logistics in military 3PL services. According to the study, the success of the second Gulf War was attributed to the success in the logistics abilities. According to the study, the success of military forces is linked to the ability to obtain supplies in the form of ammunition and food. The role of 3PL in the facilitation of distribution is therefore critical in the facilitation of military supplies. In this light, the Irish Army can as well benefit from the 3PL services in the distribution of the clothing the foreign territories as well as ensuring the stability in the process in providing quality and reduction in the waste in terms of resources (Rahman and Hamid, 2019; 1004). As pointed out in the study, streamlined logistics services provide room for the development of the frameworks which facilitate a swift supply chain. The Irish Army could benefit from the 3PL services, which focus on taking over freight transportation and warehousing in the clothing distribution.

Role of Lean Management in Waste Management in the Irish Defense Forces

According to Ahmad and Azuan (2013, p. 337), the lean management approach focuses strongly on the reduction of wastes. However, since culture is immensely involved in the manufacturing process, the Irish Defense Force needs to take consideration of the in incorporating lean culture in its operation. However, according to Ahmad and Azuan (2013, p.336), the culture of lean is critical in the development of a conducive environment for the thriving of the organisational goals. Therefore, for the Irish Defense to embrace lean manufacturing effectively, it is essential to adopt the lean culture in their operation to realise the organisational goals. As pointed out by Taleghani (2010, p. 289), the culture of lean needs to be adopted and therefore, also change the culture of the Irish Army as well.

Sundar, Balaji, and Kumar (2014, p. 1880) described lean management as an approach developed to enhance maximum utilisation of resources through the reduction of wastes. According to Sundar et al., (2014, p. 1878), lean management also impacted on the formulation of a reasonable response to the dynamic and competitive business environment. The complexities and challenges facing the modern business society need fast response to provide an enabling business environment for the success of the organisation (Sundar et al., 2014, p. 1883). Lean management facilitates value-adding and achievement of perfection and therefore making lean management as a requirement for the attainment of business sustainability.

A study by Alefari, Salonitis, and Xu (2017, p.757) to illustrate the role of leadership in the implementation of the lean manufacturing indicated that the part of the senior management and their coordination of the employees and the functions is crucial in the development of a sustainable business environment. The lengthy journey in lean management is, however, detrimental to the implementation process. According to the results of the study, good leadership ensures a streamlined implementation of lean management. The leadership in the Irish Defense Force leadership can, therefore, deploy the strategy used by Toyota in rebranding its production system (Alefari et al. 2017, p.759). Some of the lean services Irish Army can benefit from include software development, entrepreneurship, accoun...

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Research Paper on Lean Distribution & Six Sigma: Quality Improvement & Customer Satisfaction. (2023, Jan 31). Retrieved from

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