At Mail-Gard, we pride ourselves on thinking ahead and, like good Girl and Boy Scouts, being prepared. But on what will likely be the last workday of 2016 for many, we wanted to take a moment to look back on the year and share some of our accomplishments, Continuous Improvement experiences and a few compelling statistics.
Mail-Gard’s Continuous Improvement Efforts in 2016
Regular readers of SpeakingDIRECT know that Mail-Gard now has 18 months of Continuous Improvement initiatives under our belt. We started with the print area and continue to use Kaizen events to increase efficiencies across our entire platform. In 2016, we improved packing, shipping and material handling processes while reducing touch points and roll damage. We standardized our print operator process for jams and restarts. This effort reduces downtime and helps ensure consistent product for our inserting team. As a result, we identified and implemented additional efficiencies that increased our inserting throughput.
Our Warehouse Kaizen event resulted in expedited material access and movement as well as an improvement in overall cleanliness. We reduced obsolete inventory, improved the cleanliness of the warehouse and eliminated aisle congestion. Additional benefits of the Warehouse Kaizen event included defining an incoming area for Work in Process and establishing reorder points for postal supplies.
Testing is critical for IWCO Direct’s success with data-driven marketing programs. Testing also plays a huge role in what customers expect from Mail-Gard. We ran 101 Customer Recovery tests in 2016. Every detail matters, from the start of an exercise to the disposition of materials.
In 2016, we improved our process for conducting exercises by defining an area for incoming and outgoing materials and outlining timelines for material disposition. This focus improved our ability to identify missing or low quantity materials prior to an exercise and reduced the need to complete exercises outside of their scheduled date. In addition, by defining the timeline for disposition of materials, we were able to free up valuable production space and close out exercises in a timely manner.
Inserting was also part of our Continuous Improvement efforts in 2016. We standardized roles and responsibilities for operators and technicians during setup and running of production. We improved the escalation process and identified additional training opportunities for these critical roles. The results were exciting – we established higher throughput in both Print and Inserting while maintaining our high quality standards.
Using 2016’s Learnings to Strengthen Our 2017 Outlook
Although we had no actual declared events in 2016, we had several weather-related alerts and one alert related to a water main break. Alerts allow for heightened awareness and initial preparation by the Mail-Gard team. This year produced a significant amount of operational recovery (overflow) volume at Mail-Gard, demonstrating our clients’ confidence in Mail-Gard and providing end-to-end validation of customer recovery plans. In other words, our work in 2016 exemplified the peace of mind that comes with a Mail-Gard Critical Communications Recovery contract.
2016 was a great year for the Mail-Gard team and the bar for Continuous Improvement has been set even higher for us in 2017. If you need help building a recovery plan or finding a proven source for your overflow volume, contact me here.