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Improving Workplace Productivity Beyond March Madness

Patrick Sondreal

It’s easy to get wrapped up in March Madness. Some treat the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship like an extended national holiday—and even the most casual of sports fans can fill out a bracket and follow along. But with so much action taking place during the first week of the tournament (a combined 32 games on Thursday and Friday alone), the news media often focuses on the potential drop in workplace productivity.

This is a great reminder of the importance of efficiency in the workplace. While we may be thinking of basketball now, productivity is more often impacted by how efficient an organization is. With this in mind, we would like to share a few thoughts on how IWCO Direct is striving to improve our own efficiency and productivity, not only in March, but throughout the year.

IWCO Direct Efficiency Initiatives

At IWCO Direct we are strong believers in Continuous Improvement and Lean Manufacturing. We like Lean because it lets us leverage the creativity of the employees closest to a process to find innovative ways to address the challenges of today’s shorter run, more variable workflow. In our fast-paced, always-on world, tighter deadlines have become the norm. By tapping into the insight of the people who understand our processes best, we’ve discovered new approaches to bring speed and efficiency to the production of marketing communications.

We use cross functional team collaboration and preplanning meetings to ensure flawless execution and Lean Manufacturing principles (like Kaizen events) to challenge the status quo. We’re always on the lookout to decrease downtime, add capacity and standardize our workflows from sale to mail.

Here are just a few ways we have increased efficiency in recent years:

  • 30% reduction in press make-ready time (2012–2014)
  • 45% reduction in envelope convertor make-ready time (2009–2014)
  • 3% reduction in press and envelope waste (2011–present)

Quality is always our top priority. Of course efficiency is part of quality as we strive for consistent, defect-free processes. One way to ensure quality is by using data to proactively improve our processes. As part of our routine, we continually review data to identify improvement opportunities as well as to sustain improvements that have already been made.

Improving workplace productivity is a goal beyond the madness of March. This is especially true in process-driven industries like direct mail and direct marketing. We take pride in our ability to increase efficiency while maintaining our commitment to quality.

For more information on our Lean Manufacturing efforts, read our latest posts or subscribe to SpeakingDirect for future updates.

(Go Badgers!)

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2015/03/25/workplace-productivity/
Patrick Sondreal

Author

Patrick Sondreal

Director of Client Services, Continuous Improvement and Lean. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison with an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. Commissioned officer of the U.S. Navy who brings a commitment to teamwork and continuous improvement to IWCO Direct every day. Wisconsin Badger fan who loves being part of his kids’ activities.

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