PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to investigate the use of an integrated approach for performance improvement of virtual teams (VTs) in third-party logistics (3PL) through the integration of performance management (PM), visual management (VM) and continuous improvement (CI) initiatives into one coherent system. The paper will also propose a methodological framework to establish such a system. The intended integrated system is called as integrated visual management (IVM) throughout this paper.Design/methodology/approachThis research is based on a case study that took place in a 3PL context with 19 VTs of different sizes spread across Australia. Many major 3PL companies provide their services either internationally or nationwide and therefore use VTs on a regular basis. The selected company does the same. This case was picked as representative of the many complexities which VTs face in 3PL settings, e.g. geographical and temporal separations; different skill levels within the team and between different team bases; multi-teaming system; high staff turnover; recurring performance problems and firefighting approach to problem-solving; and highly demanding performance requirements from clients. Further, this case study, being of a newly established contract and team, enabled the observation of the team dynamic and complexities from the earliest stages. In addition, as the main author of the paper was part of the managerial layer of the studied VT, this provided it a unique opportunity to escape the usual bureaucracy and rather focus on the research. This study also includes a literature review on VTs along with PM, VM and CI, which comprises IVM.FindingsIt was found that an integrated approach to PM, VM and CI was effective in systematically improving the VT performance. The framework for implementing IVM was productive and enabled to successfully plan and deploy the improvement intentions. Even though the team was highly virtual and encompassed a range of situational challenges, including different skill levels, a multi-teaming system and a high staff turnover, nevertheless, through IVM, the results met and exceeded performance targets on a sustainable base. Inventory record accuracy, dispatch on time, delivery in full on time and dock to stock were improved by 45, 62, 22 and 25 per cent on average, respectively.Originality/valueThe originality of the paper comes from its methodological approach to performance improvement for VTs in 3PL contexts through integrating PM, VM and CI systems into one coherent system, IVM.
Team Performance Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 11, 2018
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