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Updated: Sep 5, 2020


Jake Harrell


An distribution operation shipping facility was challenged to meet their contractual obligation of shipping outbound loads at 99% on time rates within a 24 hour period. This center processes over 100 full truckload shipments per day and the business has consistently missed their target metric week over week for the pas 16 weeks. Their customers were dissatisfied and the business was at risk for losing them as well as tarnishing their reputation.


The operators utilized an RF unit which produced tasks directed to each employee and their location. The operators were required to scan a barcode on the box to verify the correct item, which them directed them to stage the product on the dock for shipment. Ultimately, the operators are supposed to scan a stage barcode to verify that they are placing product in the correct location.

As the Six Sigma Black Belt project began, it was discovered during a process walk that the operators could manually type in the stage barcode and set the product anywhere they want to. Introducing a hidden key within the stage barcodes means that operators could no longer circumvent the process; they must physically be in the correct location to set their product down and continue working.

Every order is verified to be correct to the purchase order by an auditor. This was the challenge that was making loads ship late. Auditors consistently would come up short or over and this was solely due to the circumvention of the stage verification process.

Also to note, the #Pareto chart revealed that 97% of the work process failures for on-time shipments of materials was driven by product that is incorrectly staged.


Once the new barcodes were installed, audits started to take less than 5 minutes and started to have 0 defects within a 24-hour period. Since the implementation of the process, the work cell has never failed to meet this contractual obligation since.


23% reduction of cycle time

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