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Six Sigma @ U.S. Postal Service

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This topic contains 45 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  Adam L Bowden 10 years, 7 months ago.

Viewing 46 posts - 1 through 46 (of 46 total)
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  • #30682

    Lomax
    Participant

    I am curious to know if anyone is aware of a Six Sigma program at the U.S. Postal Service? 

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    #80301

    billybob
    Participant

    Hello  Folks,
    I think they skipped the 6S and went strainght to the 37 cent stamp. 
    Later,
    Billybob

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    #80302

    Trent Myer
    Participant

    I heard that one of the two companies that merged into what is today Six Sigma Qualtec had a contract with USPS years ago. I don’t think it was Six Sigma, per se, but more like a process improvement or TQM type program. To my knowledge, they don’t have SS there (I have a few consulting friends whom I asked).

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    #80303

    Thom Williams
    Member

    Neil,
    I have also heard that the USPS was looking into Six Sigma, but I have no confirmable source.  I just tried calling them and received no confirmation either way.
    You may be interested in a US Today article published on 10/31 (in the Money section).  The title is “Feds may unleash Six Sigma on terrorism.”

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    #80311

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Neil,
    I was one of the owners of Six Sigma International. We did merge with Marshal Qualtec in 1998 and it did become Six Sigma Qualtec. Marshal Qualtec held a pretty sizable contract at the time of the merger (July 1998) but it was more of a policy/process deployment type contract not six sigma.
    We had several meetings around SS but to my knowledge USPS had not done a contract, I didn’t stay that close to it. The daily rate was relatively low so it makes it difficult to completely staff with experienced MBB’s. You have to manage it as a portfolio type deployment (mix of new people and a few experienced MBB’s) and that wasn’t the model we delivered at Six Sigma International.

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    #181936

    Ryan Hess
    Member

    Do you guys know how six sigma could help the United Postal Service have a better financial bottom line or increase delivery speed or accuracy?

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    #181937

    Gary Cone
    Participant

    I do.

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    #181938

    Grosvenor
    Participant

    I heard a guy named John Biedry was running six sigma at USPS about 2 years ago. Then he became a consultant with BMGI so I would assume that they stopped their program, or it faded into the background. Does anyone know John Biedry?

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    #181941

    Mikel
    Member

    Looks like a guy who can’t hold a job. 5 in the last ten years and with
    the shape BMG is in, he might want to ask for the government job
    back.

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    #181943

    Darth
    Participant

    Yes, USPS is currently dabbling in lean six sigma with Giganto Consulting.

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    #181947

    Robert S
    Member

    Dabbled is a good word. They “dabbled” with SS lite in ’97-’00 with SSQ. In essense, however, they were just looking for contract labor through our personnel…our people really simply filled supervisory positions. SS got no traction at all.

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    #181953

    GB
    Participant

    job hopping isn’t necessarily indicative of not being able to hold a job.   I don’t know this guy from Adam, but many jump in order to gain differing experience, or to get order of magnitude salary jumps.
    I see generational trends.   My Boomer Dad spent 30+ with a certain “Giganto War Machine Company” and 15 at another, switching companies was not an option, unless he was laid off.   One of my GenX friends jump every 2-3 years for the $, avging 10-15% per jump…well more than a typical 3-4% raise.
    I know a guy that jumps every 2 yrs like clockwork between “Giganto War Machine Company A” and “Giganto War Machine Company B”.  He’s open to his mgmt about it and does good work, so they are down with it.   The guy went from mid 5 figs in the early 90’s to mid six figs in 4 jumps (8 yrs).
     

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    #181961

    ?
    Participant

    Really, mid-six figures?! The guy now makes $500,000 +/- a year?

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    #181964

    GB
    Participant

    Yep.   Does good work.   Proved himself over and over.  Now runs a sizeable chunk of the business.   Probably won’t be jumping so much, as he is loving his work (and pay)

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    #182026

    Ed Barkley
    Participant

    Wow! This email trail took a wierd turn talking about consultant’s salaries. Reminds me of some of the misuse of email at several of my past engagements. So this is a help to get this conversation back on track.
    Ryan, it appears you threw the net wide and encompassed three (sometimes opposing) objectives – saving $, speeding delivery and increasing “accuracy” (however that may be defined). Were your questions academic or are you part of a team with these challenges? The short answer is “yes, I know how SS could help the USPS” but I need to know what the objectives are before offering them. It’s kinda like Point, Shoot and Aim at this stage, if you see what I mean. So, which one do you want to address first, since improving one may adversley affecting the other two.

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    #182037

    Mikel
    Member

    Say what?”So, which one do you want to address first, since improving one may adversely affecting the other two.”Dude, you need to learn to think in more than one dimension, you know like walk and chew gum.

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    #182043

    MrMHead
    Participant

    Isn’t he refering to the “triangle”  of Cost, Quality and Speed?
    I’ve heard some discuss it as you can sit on any one of the three sides meeting the requirements of the two endpoints, but not all three.
    I prefer to think of it as you get to pick a point within the bounded triangle.  The closer you get to your perfect Cost, for instance, the farther you get from Quality and Speed.
    The three vertices may have different tags, but they are essentially the same concept.

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    #182045

    Mikel
    Member

    Let’s see -Quality done right is quicker and costs less.Speed done right, demands that quality is done right, and costs
    less.Costs increase as quality gets worse.Costs increase as response time increase.I honestly don’t see your point or the point of the alleged “Business
    Process Architect”.Sounds like crap they teach in MBA programs.

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    #182083

    Ed Barkley
    Participant

    You are correct. This was an attempt to see if the person who originally started this thread was aware of these trade-offs and, if these were important for him to consider, I could help him.

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    #182084

    Ed Barkley
    Participant

    BTW, my reply above was to MrMHead’s comments.

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    #182085

    Mikel
    Member

    Let’s see -Quality done right is quicker and costs less.Speed done right, demands that quality is done right, and costs
    less.Costs increase as quality gets worse.Costs increase as response time increase.I honestly don’t see your point, I don’t think you know what you
    are talking about.Sounds like crap they teach in MBA programs.

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    #182087

    Ed Barkley
    Participant

    Stan, please. My reply wasn’t to you. It was to MrMHead and to the person who posed one of the original questions. It was also to help get the conversation back on these questions and off the discussions of consultants and what they’re paid.

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    #182089

    Mikel
    Member

    Ed, please. My response was to you. Your advice is nonsense and not
    in line with the experience of many of us on here.

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    #182090

    Ed Barkley
    Participant

    Stay on topic. Replies should be answers to the original question. Try not to create sub-conversations in a thread as it complicates reading and really doesn’t belong in the thread. If you have a discussion topic that was suggested from reading a thread, just start a new thread.
    Be considerate to others. It should go without saying that you should treat others as you would like to be treated. iSixSigma community moderators are authorized to edit or delete swearing, name calling or other inappropriate language including anything deemed rude, obnoxious or abusive. Moderators also have the ability in extreme or repetitive cases to ban users from posting to the discussion forum entirely.
    Do not abuse the forum. Do not post under many screen names in order to support your position. Do not try to deceive. Do no harm. We track information associated with each post and abuse will not be tolerated.

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    #182093

    Mikel
    Member

    Ed,This is a discussion forum and my response to you was to the
    topic.To sell the idea you are trying to sell in your original post is
    antiquated thinking. You choose to pretend that I didn’t try to engage you, so I got your
    attention.You want to discuss your assertions or try and hide by posting
    forum rules?There is no rule about engaging someone that asserts something
    outside the known experience of Six Sigma professionals. Come on Ed, you answered a question about the use of Six Sigma
    and gave a input contrary to Six Sigma experience. Defend it.

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    #182098

    Ed Barkley
    Participant

    Can we just stay on track and address the questions? It’s not about us; it’s about the topic. I’m not here to “defend” my suggestions.

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    #182099

    Mikel
    Member

    Okay, you suggest something that is completely counter to what Lean
    and Six Sigma professionals know.Gee Ed thanks for the wonderful contribution.Maybe we can all pretend it was in line with what the poster asked.

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    #182100

    MrMHead
    Participant

    Stan, re: “The Triangle”
    Your point: “Quality done right is quicker and costs less”  is the end product of applying the SS methodologies and tools.  And I don’t disagree with that.
    But back it up – How did you get there?  What was “Done”?
    Do you work for free and make improvements overnight, and implement the perfect solution perfectly?

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    #182102

    Mikel
    Member

    Of course not.I was only objecting to Ed’s suggestion that one had to be picked
    to the detriment of the others.Go look at the ideas and methods behind Hoshin – Quality, Time,
    and Cost as well as Safety are always part of the vision and you
    would only exclude any of them only if Safety (1st priority) or
    Quality (2nd priority) were so bad as they would permanent erode
    the companies position immediately. Otherwise all would have improvement actions this year.It is the same kind of idea behind secondary metrics. What might
    you damage if you approach a project with just a single metric?
    The classic is asking purchasing to maximize cost reduction – you
    ask them to improve delivery and at a minimum demand they
    cannot degrade quality at the same time. I have seen hundreds of
    projects where all three were improved.Back to the question of USPS, they are automated to the extreme,
    just like the US Automakers. Their opportunity lies with all the
    other process surrounding the actual mass distribution of mail.
    Their people have to be engaged and valued – you know kind of
    like every other organization in the world. The last thing you would
    want to do is approach them with a message that we are going
    after only one dimension and we know all the rest will get worse.They teach that kind of crap in lots of MBA programs and it’s just
    not true. No wonder we have so many opportunities.

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    #182103

    Taylor
    Participant

    Absolutely Correct Brother……………Had one of the most tireless arguments of my life with one of my MBA peers on the same subject. He was an Aggie so I knew I was in for a long one.

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    #182104

    Taylor
    Participant

    Hey Stan, Guess the Moderator is an Aggie too, I read your comment before it got deleted, it wasn’t that bad so not sure why it was yanked so fast………………

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    #182105

    anon
    Participant

    You argued with an Aggie? Have you have heard about teaching pigs to sing?

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    #182107

    anon
    Participant

    “Do you work for free and make improvements overnight, and implement the perfect solution perfectly?”
    What a ridiculous question. Do you work for free while you suboptimize the process focusing on optimizing just one. Selecting an intelligent strategy doesn’t cost you more.
    Why is it that people can understand the problem with OFAT and the advantage of ANOVA but when it comes to running a business the concept of an interaction eludes them.

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    #182108

    Taylor
    Participant

    Something about Salt, Lime and Worm made me do it.

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    #182110

    anon
    Participant

    There are eternal truths in the world the sun if it is coming up will rise in the east and then there is the Juxtaposition of logic and Aggies.

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    #182111

    anon
    Participant

    Ed Barkley,
    You are correct, it is not about us, you or whomever. It is about the topic and you have added your triangle to the topic. You cannot defend the suggestion because the logic of your suggestion was old thinking easily one to two decades ago regardless which business school teaches it. As odd as Crosby is even he figured it out when he wrote that dribble Quality Is Free, but it was breakthrough thinking at the time. Even the graph, the cost and quality trade off, that used to be in Juran’s Handbook is gone which is amazing considering Blanton Godfrey’s involvement.
    This nonsense is perpetuated in schools that have brought us wonderful events such as Enron, AIG, Madoff, etc. There will be a time when people will use the term MBA and then rinse their mouths out with soap.
    Integrity. You need to either defend your advice or apologize for such an abomination.

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    #182112

    Don R
    Participant

    So SS solves all the world’s problem yet an MBA makes you greedy. Can’t follow that logic at all.
    Just my opinion.

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    #182114

    anon
    Participant

    You are probably having trouble with the logic basically because I did not say that. Will you point out specifically where that was stated please.
    If you read what I posted and will agree that your post is an interpretation of my post then we should be able to agree you a very good candidate for some reading comprehension classes.

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    #182115

    Don R
    Participant

    “This nonsense is perpetuated in schools that have brought us wonderful events such as Enron, AIG, Madoff, etc. There will be a time when people will use the term MBA and then rinse their mouths out with soap.”
    Don’t have to interpret much. You’re saying, rather directly, MBA’s are being taught to conduct fraud.
    What is it I misunderstood?

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    #182116

    anon
    Participant

    Stating something directly is exactly that. Rather directly doesn’t make any sense. That fraud comment would be an interpretation not stating something directly.
    This gifted interpretation came from?
    “So SS solves all the world’s problem …….”
    The question should be what have you understood?

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    #182117

    Don R
    Participant

    No, no more questions. You’re dodging. Get lost.

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    #182118

    SigmaJoe
    Member

    Rath and Strong are the consultants that USPS are using to help implement LSS.

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    #182120

    anon
    Participant

    Tough guy. I’m impressed.

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    #182126

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Ryan Hess,
    “In fiscal year 1995, the Postal Service had the largest increase in operating profits of any company in the world and earned $1.8 billion. By 1998, some were complaining that the Postal Service was making too much money. In 2001, the USPS is predicting a $3 billion loss that may be the largest negative change in the bottom line of any company in the world. What happened and why?”
    http://www.postcom.org/public/articles/2001articles/can%20the%20usps%20survive.htm
    Even if we ignore the article above lets look at some other issues. My data is pretty old but at one time they were the largest consumer of optical recognition equipment in the world. Even if someone is larger that still own a lot of optical recognition equipment. What I saw there was that when something didn’t recognize and address enough times (whatever enough was) they slowed the machine down. Nobody figured out what was wrong and nobody understood optimization or DOE. I saw an experiment done by John Hathaway that showed them how to set the machine up. Speed went up and accuracy went up. Guess what happens when you slow a lot of machines down. You have capacity issues and the solution to that is you buy more machines. If you do that often enough the results are predictable. You become the largest consumer of optical recognition equipment in the world. Will six sigma help? Of course.
    They used have the largest fleet of trucks in the US. I don’t know if they are the largest currently but just driving around I would say they still use a lot of trucks. I am sure there are efficiencies to be had there.
    They used to have the largest fleet of planes in the US. Just a guess but I am sure they still have a lot of planes. Same thing. I am sure there are efficiencies.
    They used to be the largest non-military employer in the US. I am sure with that many people you can get some problem solving skills in the hands of a fair number of those people and they will be more than happy to improve the processes they have to deal with daily.
    With FedEx and UPS out there you can probably find a couple of people to go benchmark those companies and see if it runs as efficently but I think the question is academic.
    Look at the old FedEx ad “when it absolutely has to be there over night” What do you think that was about? Why would FedEx use that advertisement? When it absolutely has to be there over night do you FedEx it, DHL it, UPS it or do you use the express mail service at USPS? If your answer isn’t USPS then there is an opportunity even if it is just a marketing opportunity. You would have to see their data on successful deliveries to decide if you fix the service or fix the marketing.
    My exposure to USPS was 11 years ago and your question to my post is 7 years later. I am pretty sure the numbers haven’t changed much. The answer in 1998 was there are a ton of opportunities and I am sure those opportunities haven’t changed much.
    If the article I cited in the beginning is true then someone at USPS needs to be asking what is wrong with their Six Sigma program.
    Just my opinion.

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    #182130

    So Not Stan
    Member

    And yet another tirade by Stan.
    Recommend you A) ignore posts by Stan and certainly do not reply to them as they only spawn more of the same from this guy and B) report Stan’s posts to the moderator under the ‘spam’ button.
    Maybe someday he’ll get the message if others on this forum start to police it.  Until then, Stan will just be a hinderance to useful dialogue.

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    #182135

    Adam L Bowden
    Participant

    The six Sigma Program at the USPO – the training / support is via
    Accenture (George Group) – if you wish to get in contact with some
    of the folks deploying there let me know and I’ll pass on the
    connection request.I apologize if this has already been covered in the deluge of
    comments – I’m just not going to read them all.Regards,Adam adamlbowden@yahoo.com

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