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 that 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.

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

Management began to explore alternatives.

Determining Additional Capacity Is Needed

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

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 department was experiencing

Noticing Shifts Don’t Align

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

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, employees barely used the equipment because of the lack of processing volume.

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

Fixing Blunders

Management had made several blunders. They didn’t notice that 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 regularly review and align the hours of operation with the availability of work.

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

Making Decisions

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

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

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

I 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 me at 469-535-3751 or steve@FTPConsulting.com.

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