Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Distribution center performance assessment Public Deposited

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  • The objective of this research is to assess the performance measurement systems currently used in today's distribution centers. A comprehensive investigation of distribution centers' performance measurement system is completed. Three major research phases are included in this study. An overview of distribution centers, including background, components, functions, and material handling systems, is demonstrated in the first phase. In the second phase, a series of case studies is carried out for assessing measurement systems used in today's distribution centers. The findings of the case studies are summarized in terms of the distribution centers' characteristics and measurement systems used. In the last stage of this research, a comprehensive framework of normative attributes for measurement systems (adapted from Clark, 1995) is adopted to assess the performance measurement systems used in today's distribution centers. The metrics used in distribution centers' performance measurement systems can be classified into six categories: Finance, Operations, Quality, Safety, Personnel, and Customer Satisfaction. In the five distribution centers, Safety is found to be the most significant measurement component. This is likely due to legal requirements. In contrast, very little emphasis is placed on Customer Satisfaction. This is not surprising as current measurement systems in distribution centers have evolved from traditional systems where the primary emphasis was on organization-level financial and operational measures, with little attention on a formal process for assessing operator-and customer-level performance indices. Based on the results of assessment of applying normative attributes to the measurement systems used in distribution centers, it is found that there is great opportunity for improvement. First, everyone in the distribution center should get involved with the development of the measurement system as much as possible. Only through wider input can a best-fit measurement system be designed. As a result, the traditional way of focusing on only organizational measurement is not appropriate any more. A focus should be placed on the individual level as well. Wider visibility of performance metrics across the organization would significantly help information to be understood more effectively and efficiently. The results of this research also indicate that the primary focus in the measurement systems currently used in the distribution centers studied was on quantitative attributes. This type of thinking in the measurement philosophy must be expanded. Measurement and possible integration of both quantitative and qualitative measurements are important, and developing a formal structure to measure customer satisfaction could be a critical starting point. Another significant improvement can be made is in the study-act part of Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) area. The measurement systems studied only implemented part of the process. Through a complete cycle of PDSA, the performance of the distribution centers can be improved significantly.
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