SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT AND LEAN SIX SIGMA IN A RETAIL ENVIRONMENT IN NIGERIA

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SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT AND LEAN SIX SIGMA IN A RETAIL ENVIRONMENT IN NIGERIA

INTRODUCTION

LSS is a combination of two popular CI methodologies: Lean and Six Sigma. Lean and Six Sigma focus typically on improving the production and transactional processes of an organisation. Although each uses different methodologies and principles to effect the improvement, both have complementary effects (O’Rourke, 2005).

Each of these methodologies has been individually popularised by successful implementations at companies such as Toyota and General Electric. However, these implementations were not without some difficulty. The experiences of the first implementations of Lean and Six Sigma methodologies are unique based on leadership and culture. Subsequent implementations of Lean and Six Sigma have benefited from the literature and experiences produced by these pioneering companies (O’Rourke, 2005).

Nevertheless there is not much research in the literature describing the status of Six Sigma applications in SC including its focus, tools and techniques utilised, benefits and limitation. It is important to describe the status of Six Sigma implementation in the SC to help companies as a benchmarking exercise including tools and techniques, fundamental metrics, potential savings and reasons for potential failures among others (Raj and Attri, 2010).

An SC is the entire network of activities of a firm which link suppliers, warehouses, factories, stores and customers. These activities not only include material flow, but also, services, information and funds (Nahmias, 2009). SCM is about integrating the processes and optimising the efforts of all members of the chain to improve quality, responsiveness, pricing, material flow, add more value to customers, and reduce materials costs (Kannan and Tan, 2005; Chan and Chan, 2006). SCM is a new management philosophy viewed as an initiative focusing on the coordination of the manufacturing, logistics, materials, distribution, and transportation as well as on how companies utilise their suppliers’ capabilities to improve competitive advantage. It is the chain that links processes of different organisations from raw materials to the end user, which can be extended to the after-sale services and recycling (Tan et al., 2002). Other examples of researchers who studied SCM include Bowersox and Closs (1996), Lalonde and Pohlen (1996), and Mentzer et al. (2001).

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