By Joyce Hooi
DHL Supply Chain might make connecting far-flung areas of the planet its business, but it was only a few years ago that it started putting the same idea to work within the organisation, where productivity was concerned.
Five years ago, the company's offices around the world started using the Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control (DMAIC) improvement process - a data-centric method of tracking room for improvement and the degree of improvement later on.
"When we chose DMAIC, it was to standardise and align between different sites. Because before that, everyone had their own methodologies and own ways of working. So we chose to have one methodology worldwide to train everybody throughout the globe," said Oscar de Bok, CEO of DHL Supply Chain for South and South-east Asia.
"The reason is that one of the important things about process improvement is the ability to copy solutions that we find in one operation to another operation. That's very crucial because otherwise, you keep on inventing the same wheel."
In Singapore, the payoff has been a tangible one. The firm recorded $2.7 million in savings for 2011 from using the DMAIC process.
"Most of that, we actually passed on to our customers," said Mr de Bok.
"The most important part for us is that you start to see it in the feedback that you get from our customers in our customer survey - that we're providing cost savings and customers see more value in working with DHL," he said.
Even beyond individual consumers, productivity increases are necessary from a strategic standpoint.