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Local problems, global perspective

By Scott Loveland

With the holiday season around the corner, I’ve begun preparing for my annual tradition of sending out Festivus cards to update my loved ones on my year to date. While this task is often considered a wonderful time, certain aspects can become incredibly time consuming. As a consultant, free time is cherished, and I’ve often looked into the process to see where improvements for time efficiency can be implemented – the biggest time saver to date has been buying label paper and printing out recipients addresses as opposed to handwriting them.

Interestingly enough, at a recent client engagement, the team at Trindent was dealing with capacity and utilization issues with respect to the mail room teams. This client had mail rooms at multiple sites that served teams in different geographic areas. One team always seemed to be swamped with work, which resulted in the management staff at location A wanting to hire additional resources, whereas at location B the mail room team sat idle for most of the afternoon. Communication was minimal between locations. This presented an incredible opportunity to balance utilization rates without capital expenditure or hiring additional resources. We simply had to come back to my Festivus card time saver – return addresses.

The project team analyzed the annual volume of requests from specific product lines that would affect workflow in each mail room, then forecasted anticipated volumes by product and re-allocated certain products to the under-utilized location to balance capacity. At Trindent, we were able to take a global view of the business problem, connect the two local issues and offer a simple solution that would optimize processes for the company – change the address on the mail return envelope based on products. By changing the destination in the supply chain, we were able to re-balance work flows and optimize employee efficiency.

Sometimes, great solutions to complex problems can be this simple. What matters is the perspective with which you’re focusing on the issues.