Chapter 3: Operations

Standardization and Network Optimization

Process Improvement

Standardization has a major role in improving service and efficiency in all operations and support activities. Lean Six Sigma (LSS) tools, such as value stream mapping, are being used to standardize and simplify processes, document best practices, and replicate success throughout the organization. Data-driven analysis and decision making have resulted in lean management efforts targeting process variability, operating costs, and improvement opportunities. In many facilities, LSS analysis demonstrated the feasibility of compressing mail processing distribution into shorter operating windows. Highly focused, data-driven scheduling reduced overtime by one-half. Other projects led to keying simplification at remote encoding centers, and improved scanning at international service centers.

New field operations industrial engineers are playing a key role in expanding standardized processes. Over 500 continuous improvement projects have been identified in mail acceptance, operations, transportation, and service improvement. More than 1,100 employees have completed the continuous improvement/LSS training, and 120 earned LSS Green or Black Belts by leading and solving business problems. Replication of successful projects allows the organization to magnify the benefits of LSS continuous improvement projects while fostering standardization. The network of operations industrial engineers has proven to be an instrumental component in the organization’s systematic implementation of improvement processes and practices.