Most successful logistics operations share a common denominator: careful attention to solution design. Laying the groundwork with an eye toward the desired end result can help to ensure optimal efficiency and effectiveness.
DMADV, a Six Sigma management technique, can be a valuable tool for guiding the solution-design process. This data-centric quality strategy is proven to improve service levels, enhance efficiency and increase the likelihood of success in meeting objectives.
The acronym DMADV represents five key phases of the design and development process:
- Define – Develop design goals that are consistent with customer demands and business strategy
- Measure – Analyze data and develop an understanding of business needs
- Analyze – Identify and analyze potential scenarios which could meet business needs and recommend a course of action
- Design – Develop models/layouts to validate the operational concept
- Verify – Post-implementation evaluation
DMADV can be a useful tool in a variety of industries, including the logistics space. DMADV provides a framework for improving product and process design, anticipating potential problems, and minimizing the need for design changes – all critical elements in logistics operations. This methodology can help to deliver integrated logistics solutions more quickly and cost-effectively while enhancing quality and fostering innovation.
3 Keys to Success
There are several essential elements to consider when using the DMADV process in a logistics environment:
1. Reliable data
One of the most critical elements of implementing the DMADV process is collecting the right data – everything from product characteristics to order profiles to business fluctuations. While some companies are initially reluctant to share such detailed information with a solution provider, they quickly recognize that the quality of data has a direct bearing on the effectiveness of the solution.
The innovation and creativity commonly associated with the DMADV process are most often achieved in a collaborative environment. Some companies parse out the development process – assigning the engineers to handle the raw engineering, then handing it off for drawing design, etc. However, it is usually more efficient and effective to have a multifunctional team that works together under the supervision of one individual with overall responsibility for the project.
When seeking a logistics partner, it is helpful to seek out a provider with experience in leveraging the DMADV model to develop sophisticated solutions. Look for experienced provider with characteristics such as:
- An entrepreneurial spirit that allows for flexibility and creative thinking
- A flat organizational structure that allows for easy access to top decision makers
- Accountability and ownership of the entire project (IT, engineering, etc.) by a single team leader
- Relationships with material handling integrators and other vendors to help develop the optimal solution at the right cost
With solid data, thoughtful collaboration, and an experienced partner, the DMADV process can help to determine the optimal logistics solution to improve service levels and increase success in meeting objectives.