The master thesis at hand has been conducted with the purpose to explore real organizational problems at Dynamic Parcel Distribution GmbH & Co (DPD) and to present possible solutions for generating functional and operational improvements in the company’s depot in Bentheim, Germany.
According to Van Aken et al. (2009), problem solving in organizations is often undertaken in a craftsman-like fashion, based on business experience and informed common sense. Here, the process of decision making in modern business organizations is often characterized by a mismatch between what science knows and what businesses actually do. Facing the problem with low audit results of one of DPD’s operational facilities, the project aims at improving the performance of this operational facility by applying design-focused and theory-based methodology for business-problem solving proposed by Van Aken et al. (2009).
The project is oriented towards creating value from an individual organizational perspective and is executed in the following phases. First, in the exploratory phase the full scope and depth of the preliminary business problem is explored. Here, a qualitative interview with the quality manager of the company in combination with performance and document analyses indicate that insufficient levels of ‘formalization’, ‘specialization’ and ‘professionalism’ lead to low audit results of the depot. Second, in the analysis and diagnosis phase, concrete operational shortcomings caused by the previously indicated problems were verified by participatory observations. As an answer to these concrete operational shortcomings, in the subsequent plan of action phase, solutions, which combat previously defined performance problems, were designed on the basis of operational management theory. Then, as a result, a solution design including seven concrete improvement suggestions was developed. In concrete, these suggestions include adding of some additional tasks, formalization of jobs, introducing of standards for damage packages and reorganization of some current work procedures. Eventually, in the final phase, it is explained how and why the solution design will positively affect the functionality of the organization and what management has to be aware of after the implementation of the suggested improvements. The thesis ends with a reflection on the executed design science project and with a part discussing the limitations of the approach.
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