Evaluating Six Sigma methodology to improve logistical measures of food distribution SMEs

Alireza Shokri, David Oglethorpe, Farhad Nabhani

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to investigate the implementation of the Six Sigma methodology as a systematic business strategy and quality initiative to improve the critical logistical measures within small-to-medium sized food distributers. Design/methodology/approach –The first stage was the conducting of structured questionnaires to verify the applicability in terms of capability, resources and culture in the targeted industry. The second stage was the implementation of two industrial case studies to investigate the impacts of Six Sigma on logistical measures. Finding – It was found that Six Sigma is applicable and beneficial in small – to – medium sized food distributers. It was also found that required training, personal characteristics of managers, size of the organisation, education level and workplace of the employees are the most effective elements to adopt Six Sigma for these organisations. Research limitations/implications – Cultural factors including high level of secrecy in information exchange, ambiguity and lack of knowledge, sampling population and requirement of ISO9000 were found as key issues in implications of this research programme. Practical implications – Six Sigma programme can be used as a problem solving practice, a performance measurement tool and a business strategy in small food distributers through more simplified approach to improve the ultimate food supply chain. Originality/value – This research article studies the application of Six Sigma in food logistics SME sector by having integrated research approach, and also provides a practical scientific and rigorous quality and profitability improvement methodology for smaller food distribution organisations with limited resources.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)998-1027
    JournalJournal of Manufacturing Technology Management
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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