The United States Postal Services (USPS) started in 1775. Currently, USPS employs over 600, 000 workers. The mission of USPS is to provide global delivery that binds the nation. USSP envisions to focus continually on the changing needs of the consumers. The company has been facing various problems in the attempt of satisfying its mission and vision. One of the problems is an economic challenge since 2007. The costs of running operation have been exceeding costs, and the company are about to undergo insolvency. Working as a self-financing business has not worked well for the company as it has been facing competition from emailing private delivery and online billing paying. The company has two types of services; the competitive and the dominant market. The dominant market includes; periodicals, standard mail, and first class mail. The competitive category includes package, shipping services, and international mail. The U.S Postal service functions in a unique manner as it is both as a profitable venture and as an independent executive branch accountable to the Congress. It's two services require that it continuously improves the quality of services. The independent executive branch acts as a statutory monopoly on the dominant segment of the market while the competitive segment has to compete with the private sector. Apart from economic problems the company faces managerial problems leading to the inability of the company to continuously improve quality. USPS's stakeholders are power, and they often share conflicting agendas and interests.
Managers can improve the customer satisfaction through quality management. Postal services customers also desire a reliable and prompt mail delivery services. If customers are dissatisfied with services they, tend to substitute the postal services with other alternatives such as electronic communication. Therefore, its mandate is to satisfy customers through universal mail services and also protect its competitive interests. It's two services require that it continuously improves the quality of services.
Total Quality Management Methodologies for USPS
USPS committee strategizes in making the services of the company better for the best of the customer’s interest. In enhancing the TQM method that makes these services better, the company has employed a technology-based system of work. The system checks on all the activities of the company, and it harmonizes all transactions. In the processes of receiving and dispatching of the letters, the staffs enter their details and can track all the progress of these services. TQM looks at maintaining the culture, better and quality services to the clients, better management systems and much more. This TQM technique that USPS Company employs is the DST service that goes in-line with the current technology and enhancing better services offering procedures.
DST Service in Enhancing TQM for USPS
According to the organizational theory, a company should ensure it maintains the culture and qualities of services that attracted the clients to it. Technology is a good thing, and all the modern companies need to embrace and implement it as Total Quality Management tool and procedure. It is the role of the management to make sure that the method meets its required goals and company expectations before considering it as effective. The implementing committee of USPS monitors the progress of DST and make sure it is up-to-date and meets the clients requirements.
As described by Carbaugh & Tenerelli, Proper planned and enhanced business processes enables a company to achieve its goals. USPS Company received DST Output certification that location was in Connecticut. This service aims at ensuring that there is quality in the all the mailing processes that the company does and undertakes. The services aim at monitoring and making the services better for the best interest of the clients. It is a total quality management techniques that point in giving clients best of the services. Currently, every industry and every firm use these kinds of technology to make their services better, effective and efficient to the clients. As one of the old mailing services company in the United States, USPS is better combined with technology where it gives its customers comfort and confidence that their goods are safe and secure. Inspecting the goods gives credibility that they will reach the destination in the same state as the client ordered or sent it. Such developments show that the management is concerned with increasing the customer's confidence with the services. The main competitors of USPS include United Parcel Services and FedEx, who employs high-quality technology both in inland and overseas service delivery. DST output is a very convenient method that assures quality to clients and that their parcels are well guarded, and monitoring is effective from all sides. To make the terms and conditions of the services broader, DST assists in enhancing electronic communications from banking, brokerage, and mutual funds. It also has a lot of extensions insurance, healthcare industries, communications and much more.
According to USPS Issue in Focus, DST assists USPS in managing its budget and ensuring that processes undertakings go the economical way. Listening and solving the client's needs immediately perfects the management activities. This action is a TQM activity as the clients prefer an organization that listen to its customer's needs and fulfill them. In the organization theory, culture and attitude are very sensitive where the way an organization treats its client's matters a lot. These actions make the client have trust in the organization processes which increases company’s revenues. Struggling and maintaining these aspects earns the company a feature distinguishing it from its competitors. In any business or services, the client looks for a business partner that has consistency in service delivery and is omnipresent whenever needed by this customer. In the United States, USPS has flexibility in its undertaking where it has many branches and enough number of staffs to handle every client issues to their satisfaction. To start, the company operates in six days a week all around the clock and makes sure that client's deliveries are in time. The company has some 32,000 post offices in the United States that ensures clients access to their parcels at any time . On top, it has 320 processing plants that enhance proper communication among the branches. These communication procedures improve the services achieved by the clients from the company that makes them choose USPS above the competitors. With all these branches and the processing plants in operation and under control there are no much complaints from the clients regarding the availability of their parcels and how to deliver them. The company puts into place sufficient employees that are ready to handle client's issues at any time. The company has over half a million employees who are committed to their work and have managers and supervisors assigned to them. To access the more than 150 million destinations, there over 200,000 vehicles that serve these locations and ensure on time parcels delivery and client feedback response. To manage the increasing number of clients serve without hiccups, the company has an increase in the number of customers to one million each year. All these activities enhance proper management, and the company gains new clients while it sustains the potential ones. The customer care services are available all the time for customers with queries and concerns about the services of the company and with any complaint. They have their phone on all through, and they handle every customer well and with passion.
With the above technology enhanced processes, the management of USPS gives clients the best of services. While the client gets and enjoys better and improved delivery of their letters, the company has the advantage of improved management processes. It keeps track of their employees especially the drivers who deliver the letters to the clients. The 24 hours customer care services assist the clients in getting feedback of their questions and assists in making the better services. The management and the project inspecting committee checks on the progress of the system and makes sure collect updates takes place.
Knowledge of Total Quality Management Marketing
Knowledge in total quality management is when a firm has the information that sells the quality of the product to the customer. Total quality management marketing is communicating to the consumers about the quality of their products over those of the competitors. USPS uses advertising, promotions, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR helps to build customer loyalty to company’s products while promotion and advertising aim at informing customers about brand quality.
USPS’s advertising program message emphasizes the unique value of mail and how it complements other media in its total quality management marketing. It promotes quality marketing through broadcast commercials, direct mailing, and advertising in journals. The promotion message focusses on how individuals and firms can develop targeted mailing that result in high returns on investment. Going green is the main theme in direct mail promotions, it focused on how the use of Mail Flat Rate Boxes is a simpler method of shipping. Earlier communications promotions in May 2015 were aired through televisions, web advertising, direct mailing, and print media resulted in an increase in sales in the first four months of the promotion. The quality organization marketing is done by conducting a needs assessment to identify the needs of small business and developing promotional kits to help them. The organization also focuses on the development of outreach programs to help improve the effectiveness of delivery for the rural people. However, other methods of communicating have continued to be a threat to the organization.
In its knowledge of total quality management marketing, USPS uses CSR to markets itself to the community by helping their employees connect with the community they serve. The company does not only deliver the mails but also give back to the community. The company uses the Combined Federal Campaign as giving campaign for federal government. Through this campaign, USPS gives to the public once a year. By giving to the community, people are reminded of its existence, and they tend to like it more due to the benefits of charity. USPS uses Semipostal Stamps as part of the charity. For instance, the breast cancer research stamp helped to raise 93.0 million to assist breast cancer research since 1998. Semipostal Stamps also help to drive hunger, for instance in 2014, the stamps raised around 73 million. It also contributes to saving endangered species in the world such as marine turtles and Asian elephants. In 2011 Save Vanish special stamps help to collect up to 2.6 million for the task of saving endangered species. USSP works together with the community postal services urges the community to reduce its carbon footprint and use low-cost types of energy. By giving back to the community, USPS is promoting the overall quality of its products and services by outdoing their competitors by winning customers' loyalty.
USSP practices to help build a customer-focused culture is by conserving culture by doing what’s right for the planet. By doing so, USPS involves both the community and employees. It is the culture of consumers to keep the environment clean by recycling of products. USPS emphasize on recycling, optimal use of resources, and saving energy. The postal service is saving on its custodial cleaning chemicals by replacing them with less harmful and environmentally friendly chemicals. The postal service is standardizing chemicals and containers. It is currently using 15 options of cleaning chemicals instead of 150. The company no long keeps cleaning chemicals in bulk; thus, it reduces the risk of spills. The cleaning chemicals are certified by Green Seal, and they come in small packages.
Another cultural conservation activity is the Caribbean District Green Initiatives Project. USPS considers it important to involve employees in recycling and reducing waste in the Caribbean region. The USPS provides employees and the community with a green newsletter that keeps them informed on how to recycle and optimize the use of postal services and products. The postal service has also implemented a recycling partnership with Atlanta Mail Recovery Center, where the Harlan post office in Lowa sends returned Merchandise saving up to $ 1800 per year in waste management. The recycling program benefits the community and workers are proud of their workplace.
Techniques to Enhance Design of Work Processes
Since the company inception in the year 1971, there have been a lot of changes in the operations in the efforts to improve quality. However, the company can change the operations to make it better and increase the technologically based operations.
Design of Work Processes
In the organization design of work can take the form of team works in the departmental levels. A Team works effectively as every team formulate their objectives by which they need to achieve after a certain period. Creation of competition among these departments and their teams results to successful and perfect work in completion. After the teams take effect, the team leaders should support to the supervisors who reports to the respective managers. For example, a team of drivers should have one team leader who directs the activities and manages his/her members. He/she will report to the management of the requirements of the drivers and the areas with hitches and hard to access. USPS will formulate its yearly objectives where each team will get it and present a form in which it will give better results and towards achieving the company objectives. Teams should also formulate their plan of work and pass to the top management. This action known as the bottom top will create a better understanding of the parcel delivery. For a long time, the company uses the top bottom management strategy that makes hard to formulate and implement crucial decisions regarding the company.
The processes of the company take manual form where the company receives letters and other parcels from the customers and record in the books. Automated machines and computed procedure best makes the processes of any company effective. To control the procedures as the United States Postal Services, the management has to computerize every activity. Upon receiving them, the company can feed all the ownership information of the letter on the computer. Using the system, they should share this information with all branches in the country. The procedure takes the form of coding the parcels where upon reaching the destined place, the receiver checks the parcel against its code. This control action will improve accuracy and efficiency in the services.
Currently, the company procedures in delivering parcels are not very convenient to many people. Most clients, especially in the rural areas, assess their parcel in only three days where despite the company working for a whole week. To improve this service, the company can sub-contract the transport systems that use those routes and make delivery more efficient. This action makes clients happy and improves the services of the company.
Tools and Techniques that Support Six Sigma
Six Sigma philosophy
Six Sigma is a philosophy that emphasizes on setting objectives, collecting and analyzing data as a way of improving product and service quality. The philosophy behind this model is if a company measures the number of defects in a process, they can systematically remove them and get closer to perfection. The Six Sigma process constitutes of two processes, DMAIC (define, analyze, improve, measure, and control) and DMADV (defines, analyzes, measures, designs, and verifies).
Quality of Product and Process Design
USPS uses the Six Sigma in its processes such as claims processing, receivables, relocation, and payables. The organization has been able to achieve effective through the six sigma process. The six elements of the Six Sigma model must be accompanied by change acceleration process that includes structure and managerial effectiveness for effective results. The effectiveness is achieved through the Six Sigma methodology together with change acceleration as demonstrated in the figure below.
The USSP follow this model in its Parcel and Bundle Automation processes through automation packaging processing systems (APPS) software upgrading to improve sorting accuracy. USPS starts by defining the problem followed by data collection about the problem. Data is collected from customers who use the product or service and measure the significant of the problem. The step is followed by data analysis process to get to the root of the problem. After data analysis, the team comes up with ways of improving and controlling the process of the product.
USPS faces big challenges in the in the improvement and control stages due poor participatory management. The implementation of the two stages requires participatory management, and it needs to be sustained and full commitment in leadership. The leadership of USPS changes frequently; it has had 8 Postmasters General (PMGs) in the past 30 years. Bearing in mind that one of the Postmasters General served for the ten years. Therefore, the implementation process becomes inconsistent as the average tenure for each PMG is three years. The organization uses the sigma process to reduce waste, improve quality, consistency, and speed. It has helped USPS to become smarter, faster, and greener. The result of improvement in accuracy, speed and resource efficiency has improved quality, the environment, and enhances financial return on investment. The USPS continuously improves the quality of its employees through field training to help them identify problems and apply the Six Sigma process in solving them.
It is advisable for companies to make their services effective and attractive to their customers. Better services encourage potential clients to join and subscribe to the company services. USPS Company has been in business for more than four decades, and its processes do not mainly impress as compared to their privately owned counterparts and undertaking the same business. It is good for the company to initiate the bottom, top management style where the low-level staffs can suggest on some of the improvements to be done in the business and implement them. Using the six sigma method for business the company will make it operations perfect for better future and better service delivery. Instead of experiencing many losses the company can undertake some sub-contracting activities and ensure continuous business operations.