Asking the Right Questions

An automated processing operation based their processing hours on the availability of mail.

Over the course of a year, the manager noted the automated system was barely able to process all the work on an average day.

On peak days, even working an additional two hours of overtime the department experienced holdover.

Exploring Alternatives

During the next six months, overtime and holdover became a daily occurrence. It seemed the automated system could no longer handle the mail volumes. Management began to explore alternatives.

Management agreed additional processing capacity was needed. Management engaged a consultant to scope the additional hardware requirements and develop a Request for Proposal.

Determining Capacity Requirements

In preparation of determining capacity requirements, the consultant analyzed:

  • Departmental metrics
  • Mail arrival patterns
  • Mail volumes
  • Processing rates
  • Hours or operation
  • The amount of holdover and overtime

The consultant quickly discovered the department had more than enough processing capacity to meet both daily and peak volumes within the allotted processing window before the deadline for posting work to the host system.

Researching the Problem

The problem was the operational shift didn’t align work hours with mail availability. Over time, mail availability had slipped to later times during the day.

The department had kept its original hours of operation. Early in the shift, the equipment was barely being used due to a lack of processing volume.

Customers didn’t receive the heavier volume of mail until later in the day when there wasn’t enough capacity to process it.

Recognizing Blunders

Management made several blunders. They didn’t notice mail availability shifts on a regular basis.

A large volume of mail travels by air. As airline schedules change over time, mail availability times are impacted.  The second major blunder was not to

The second major blunder was not to regularly review and align the hours of operation with the availability of work.

Making Decisions

The consultant reported the department had sufficient capacity to process projected volumes for the remainder of the year.

At the end of the year, management would need to decide the trade-off between adding additional processing capacity and adding a shift.

At some point in time, a decision would need to be made that mail received after a specific time would be considered next day rather than same day processing volume.

Understanding Different Mindsets

The Managing Operations Workshop introduces line managers to a different operational mindset.

We present supervisors and managers with a different and practical perspective on operations management and problem resolution. To learn how the workshops can expand your management team’s operational mindset contact us.

To learn how the workshops can expand your management team’s operational mindset, contact us.

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The Managing Operations Workshop introduces line managers to a different operational mindset. We present supervisors and managers with a different and practical perspective on operations management and problem resolution.
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