Continuous improvement leads to continued success. Small, incremental steps can have significant and long-lasting impact on your operation.
Here are 20 tips to consider along your path to excellence.
1. Require that all employees dress appropriately at work. Suits and ties may not be appropriate for a mail center, but neither are t-shirts and jeans.
2. Initiate a cross-training program within your department. Instead of a roster of experts, develop a team of generalists. It will increase your "bench strength".
3. Set aside 5 minutes per day to talk with one employee. You should know the people in your department.
4. Draft an individual training program for every employee.
5. Attend the National Postal Forum and other conferences. These events are great opportunities to attend classes, see vendors, and most importantly, network with fellow mailing professionals.
6. Read your company's annual report. Understand the goals of the executives and directors. Align your department to support these goals.
7. Let employees conduct some of the weekly training. Have clerks give instruction on receiving packages, metering mail, etc. People will learn and grow at the same time.
8. Review all procedures at least once a year. Make sure they accurately reflect what the operators and clerks are doing. Update, reprint, sign and date.
9. Conduct security testing at least once a quarter. Employees may become lax and miss potential threats. Unannounced tests keep everyone aware.
10. Develop a “Call Tree” and conduct "Call Tree" tests at least twice a year. People may move and change telephone numbers without notifying anyone.
11. Track your inbound mail volumes by classes and categories. In the words of Peter Drucker, "If you don't measure it, you can't manage it."
12. Meter all outbound mail by the end of the day. If you miss the cutoff time for delivery to the post office, change the meter date to the next day.
13. Calculate your "cost-per-piece" every month. Monitor for any changes, and chart trends.
14. Learn about new technology before you need it. This industry is changing rapidly, and it's important to stay current.
15. Investigate voice-activated or automated sorting systems. This technology is improving rapidly, and is very helpful with high turnover – both in the mail center and in the departments you service.
16. Automate the collection of data for the production report. Use accounting software, spreadsheets and databases. Easy-to-use systems will be used more often, giving you more accurate information.
17. Link new purchases to government policies. Staying compliant with privacy laws, corporate governance rules and postal regulations are good reasons to buy new equipment or software.
18. Always call references before deciding on a purchase. Whenever possible, visit a similar-sized operation that uses the product you are considering. And talk to the users, not just the managers.
19. Run your address list through CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) software. The software formats your addresses for automation and presort discounts.
20. Develop a “Move Update” process that works for your company. Move Update means verifying your customers are at the address on the mailpieces you send. Find the right method that will help your company meet the regulations and maximize discounts.