Quality Control In Mail Operations
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Quality Control In Mail Operations

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In today’s competitive environment, “good enough” is no longer “good enough”. Privacy regulations and customers’ expectations require mailers to produce defect-free documents, in the right ...

In today’s competitive environment, “good enough” is no longer “good enough”. Privacy regulations and customers’ expectations require mailers to produce defect-free documents, in the right envelope, and with the correct address. This workshop will explain why quality control is important for every mail operation, and how to integrate quality control with your existing processes. Learn the differences between TQM, Six Sigma, ISO 9000, and other quality control methods, and how they can be used in your print and mail operations.

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  • Quality control is a process employed to ensure a certain level of quality in a product or service. It may include whatever actions a business deems necessary to provide for the control and verification of certain characteristics of a product or service
  • These days, people tend to fall into complacency and have accepted a “If it isn’t broken don’t fix it” attitude. Economic conditions can change in an instant - evidence of the past three years. Pressure to meet compliance issues, with customer satisfaction being second most important task. Even though employees are rattled with new focus on their performance, it will improve the way they approach their job tasks.
  • Mention Compliance – there are functions and Service levels which must be maintained due to regulations, contract terms and new SOX compliance standards. Operations are now being audited for process controls to prove the dependability and cost management of each and every activity. The basic goal of quality control is to ensure that the products, services, or processes provided meet specific requirements and are dependable, satisfactory, and fiscally sound.
  • In an effort to “trim” the excess steps from any operation you must try and prove the effectiveness and compliance of departments and provide auditable process steps that are easy to follow and are consistent with requirements The second area requires a plan for escalation should process not include controls – include communicating these steps to the user, owner and practitioners of the process (customer, security or delivery clerk) Essentially, quality control involves the examination of a product, service, or process for certain minimum levels of quality.
  • TEAM–(no “I” or “WE”) Must include a common desire to be honest Must include top to bottom representation (and buy in from the top) All oars in the water moving in the same general direction – Goal to achieve results The goal of a quality control team is to identify products or services that do not meet a company’s specified standards of quality. If a problem is identified, the job of a quality control team or professional may involve stopping production temporarily. Depending on the particular service or product, as well as the type of problem identified, production or implementation may not cease entirely.
  • Measure what is measurable – you will never be able to effectively create a quality program if you are micro-managing the data, measure and results Use the most important top three areas – Errors are best and most obvious area to attack Always includes the customer feedback Test consistently and frequently
  • Consistent with every area of corrective action Using honest communications – Judge whether single one-time occurrence / Mis-communication or general broken system to plan corrections Usually, it is not the job of a quality control team or professional to correct quality issues. Typically, other individuals are involved in the process of discovering the cause of quality issues and fixing them. Once such problems are overcome, the product, service, or process continues production or implementation as usual. Quality control can cover not just products, services, and processes, but also people. Employees are an important part of any company. If a company has employees that don’t have adequate skills or training, have trouble understanding directions, or are misinformed, quality may be severely diminished. When quality control is considered in terms of human beings, it concerns correctable issues. However, it should not be confused with human resource issues.
  • Self explanatory – Record your current process via Process Mapping, flow chart, etc. What is your desired result? (Mail delivery to all stops within 45 minutes) Policy can be a simple step in an OPS manual, but should clearly define steps to achieve the desired result Find “Checkpoints” where process step is critical (Receive / Rough sort / Delivery /etc.)
  • Control – process is read-able Assurance – process is audited and studied for effective results Often, quality control is confused with quality assurance . Though the two are very similar, there are some basic differences. Quality control is concerned with the product, while quality assurance is process–oriented. Even with such a clear-cut difference defined, identifying the differences between the two can be hard. Basically, quality control involves evaluating a product, activity, process, or service. By contrast, quality assurance is designed to make sure processes are sufficient to meet objectives. Simply put, quality assurance ensures a product or service is manufactured, implemented, created, or produced in the right way; while quality control evaluates whether or not the end result is satisfactory.
  • Self Explanatory – Jim, your staff must use these every day – give examples of the research mail audits, checking that Accountable outmail is checked for pickup, etc.
  • Simple steps: Volume of errors by total volume= % of defects Operator speed (handled volume per hour) 720 pieces per hour sorted is a productivity measure / can demonstrate improvement in speed, capacity to handle “X” amount of volume, etc. Check the methods – sort avgs. can change / Example ; old standard for tray mail was 500 pieces – when bank statements got larger (number of pgs.) then stat changed to 450. Now with 6 X 9 letters, it changes again Always do a Qtly count to assure measure process is valid
  • Agreed 100% should be goal SLA may actually produce a target of 95% as an acceptable level Need to know what will happen if you do not meet goal and target (will world come to an end, financial losses due to fines, loss of value ?)
  • Say – 95% on time delivery (within X hours)as a standard accepted level, and you will do that for 100% of the time. to achieve success Root causes – find out what is holding up success Test the way you are moving the mail Test adjusted steps and see if they work
  • Three separate methods to provide error reduction and process improvement Total Quality Management is " A process designed to focus on customer expectations, preventing problems, building commitment to quality in the workforce and promoting open decision-making. "
  • Plan – Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail Execute – Many speak of things they will do, others do and then speak of their triumphs Evaluate – Be honest if it is not working – others will feel compelled to help and also expose their challenges as well Measure and Monitor – Take the pulse frequently to assure the patient is healthy / same in a mail operation – don’t wait till broken / proactive not reactive Adjust – Change Management is the single most emphasized element in industry today. You have heard the phrase “Change or Perish” – I also offer the best reason / “He who fails to learn from their history is doomed to repeat it “ – Don’t get done in by complacency – lead your staff to the success they deserve and work to achieve - It’s their job / and it is yours.
  • Improvement can always be made regardless of what you do. A dentist can work faster and less painful with enhanced high speed drills. A car mechanic can overhaul and engine faster with the right tools. An X-ray can be taken and read in half the time with high speed imaging and digitized resources. A process can be performed faster and with less errors with new emerging technology. A person can work smarter without working harder with the proper process changes. There will always be errors, and there will always be solutions. The Great Manager finds the solutions in advance of errors becoming critical and damaging to the business. Become that manager.
  • Self explanatory – we have all “thought” this at one time or another. People also resist change. It taxes their comfort level.
  • Telling an employee they did something wrong only puts negative pressure on them going forward. Explaining the importance of error free work -following process helps to motivate and then they will want to do it the right way. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day…teach a man to fish and he will eat forever.

Quality Control In Mail Operations Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Quality Control in Mail Center Operations James P. Mullan, CMDSM, EMCM, MDC National Operations Manager – Chubb Océ Business Services
  • 2. Overview
    • What is Quality Control
    • Why implement Quality Control
    • Quality Control Team
    • Establishing a Quality Control Program
    • Quality Control and Quality Assurance
    • Quality Control Tools
    • Measuring Success
    • TQM, Six Sigma and ISO 9000
    • Roadblocks and Barriers
  • 3. Quality Control: What is it?
    • Process to review production
    • Review includes:
      • Controls
      • Job Management
      • Performance
      • Integrity
      • Records
  • 4. Why Quality is Important
    • “ Good enough” isn’t good enough
    • Meet customers’ expectations
    • Help employees improve performance
  • 5. Goals of Quality Control
    • Ensure products or services meet standards
    • Requirements are reviewed for:
      • Dependability
      • Acceptability
      • Fiscal responsibility
  • 6. Goals of Quality Control Team
    • Identify products or services that don’t meet standards
    • Additional responsibilities:
      • Halt production
      • Notify management
      • Notify customer
  • 7. Quality Control Team Members
    • Choose from multiple levels (e.g., line, management)
    • Choose from multiple disciplines (e.g., operations, customer service)
    • Have desire and aptitude for improvement
  • 8. Quality Control Program Parameters
    • Can’t test everything
    • Identify key standards
      • Past errors
      • Customer complaints
      • Automated tests
  • 9. Correcting Errors
    • NOT the responsibility of the QC team!
    • Different levels to be corrected:
      • Immediate error – Operator
      • Training error – Supervisor
      • Systematic error - Management
  • 10. Establishing a Quality Control Program
    • Document the existing process
    • Identify specific objectives of the program
    • Establish policies and procedures
    • Map out and validate the QC process
  • 11. Quality Control and Quality Assurance
    • Quality Control – identify and detect errors
    • Quality Assurance – evaluate and improve process
    • Important that management team understands the difference
  • 12. Quality Control Tools
    • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
    • Process maps
    • Checklists
    • Quality Control and Change Control documentation
    • Reporting system
  • 13. Documenting Quality Control Results
    • Measurements:
      • Number and percentage of errors
      • Operator productivity
      • Costs
    • Periodic Reviews
  • 14. Quality Control – What’s Acceptable
    • 100% - Must be the goal
    • Weigh goals, costs and results
    • Risk and probability of “worst case”
  • 15. Quality Control and Testing
    • Establish standards and specifications
    • Develop test cases of probable errors
    • Test production process
    • Test quality control process and results
  • 16. TQM, Six Sigma and ISO 9000
    • Total Quality Management – TQM. Management philosophy on continuous improvement.
    • Six Sigma – TQM, with additional emphasis on project management.
    • ISO 9000 – standards and guidelines for quality systems as set by International Organization for Standardization
  • 17. Implementing Quality Control
    • Plan
    • Execute
    • Evaluate
    • Measure and Monitor
    • Adjust
  • 18. Quality Control: Only for Production?
    • Quality Control works anytime
      • that there is a process
      • that there is a measurable result
      • that there is opportunity for error
  • 19. Quality Control Roadblocks
    • “ Error-free isn’t possible, so why try?”
    • “ Quality Control costs too much.”
    • “ Quality Controls slows down production.”
    • “ Nobody really cares.”
  • 20. Overcoming Roadblocks
    • Explain competitive environment.
    • Demonstrate true costs of errors.
    • Measure “re-work” times.
    • Share feedback from customers.
  • 21. Questions? James P. Mullan, CMDSM, EMCM, MDC National Operations Manager – Chubb Océ Business Services [email_address]