Palooza Tuesday Webinar May 26: USPS Lean Journey

hello everyone and welcome to our third edition of Palooza Tuesday powered by UC San Diego’s process Palooza I’m Tracy Roark and I’ll be your host for the session I’m the chief innovation officer at go Lean Six Sigma comm and a Lean Six Sigma course instructor at UC San Diego extension thank you to all of you that have joined us over the last few weeks to learn and hopefully be inspired and we are looking for more inspiration today and I’m going to tell you that you know about that in a little bit but before we get started let’s do a quick survey so we’re gonna get your fingers moving here how many process Kaluza webinars have you already attended so please tell us if this is your first Palooza – Tuesday if you’ve attended one two or all of them including this one anxious to hear and Steven and Rick are going to be joining us today and I’ll just ask them have they already been to another one besides this one what do you think Steven or Rick have you been I’ve been to all of them no absolutely yeah I was on the last one you guys thought it was very instrumental and seeing how everybody else is handling Lean Six Sigma inside the country so thank you what about you Steven I actually attended process Palouse a couple years ago and did attend one of the sessions last weekend enjoyed it very nice great to hear all right let’s see what we got from the poll let’s share the results so look at that so the number one is I’ve attended all of them who knew we’ve got some fans and then we also have second I’ve attended one I’ve attended to is 19% and 19% also said this is my first Palooza Tuesday so thank you very much for sharing and for participating in the poll the good news is we’ve had over 500 participants in each session and more and more folks are planning to attend all over the world globally no pressure Rick and Steven I’m sure you’re gonna do great with your story today so let me tell you a little bit about if you’re new to this so if this is your first Palooza Tuesday series I’ll tell you a little bit about how this came to pass so in normal times UC San Diego host process Palooza on campus it’s a day-long event packed with keynotes workshops and process improvement competition a really fun one and it was scheduled to happen March of this year again but like the rest of the world we had to adjust and figure out how to bring this fun event to everyone still and ultimately we brought it online and that’s how Palooza Tuesday was born so you’re gonna get to learn still and grow as part of this series it’s a series of webinar like information sessions and discussions for the next several weeks and we wouldn’t be here without the support of our sponsor qawalli build their green business processes to life with digital forms automated approvals key integrations really putting your Lean Six Sigma program on steroids I think because they have very powerful tools for quickly building powerful interactive secure and mobile-friendly process flows no programming needed so that’s pretty good so before we get started one last thing is we want to talk about some housekeeping logistics so all the sessions will be recorded closed captioning and posted to the website which they’ll put in the chat window we are gonna have Q&A open the entire session but go ahead and fire those questions at us at any time and we’ll do our best to answer those questions we’ll post those answers alongside the recorded video later today so and then speaking of the end of the session you could win a prize so this is really the where the competition comes in with fast fingers so you could win a $500 voucher for a project management class or a Lean Six Sigma class at UC San Diego we have plenty of online classes and you can attend them remotely from anywhere in the world so we’re gonna ask you a question about this this particular series today and whoever answers it first wins so people are usually really ready and dialed to get into that okay so let’s dive into our first topic our

topic today and that is community inspiration the united states postal service lean journey and i would like to introduce Steven mommy and Rick Thompson from the US Postal Service so please tell us a little bit about who you are and how long you’ve been at the u.s coastal service Thank You Tracy I’ve been with the postal service now for 38 years I started in 1982 in a function called address information systems that function was responsible for doing the original coding for zip plus 4 as well as a very integral function in establishing automation in the postal service particularly what we call delivery point sequencing so I helped put together one of the largest databases in the world at the time which was the database of all the addresses in the United States and which was then integrated into the automation system that we use now and how we sort mail I’ve also had background in delivery as well as mail processing management support and I’ve been a full-time black belt since 2012 working with accounting service centers and a master black belt for the chief financial officer since 2018 wonderful very long time Thank You Steven and how about you Rick hey Thank You JC for inviting us yeah 25 years I mean it’s been it’s been a great journey with the United States Postal Service so I held numerous positions you know I started off in remoting coding so that was where we actually look at the addresses before our machines were sharp enough to be able to read them themselves I started off doing that then I’m / – you know distribution it’s where we move mail within a facility and then I went as a retail associate you probably used to see some of us standing behind the counter helping you out everyday and then I moved around to a carrier you know I decided Hayden let’s let’s try delivering some mail then I went to a supervisor a manager a postmaster I went back to a processing center went into sales I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but the beauty about the United States Postal Service is there is a lot of opportunity so my desire was to really look at the big picture of the organization so I held multiple jobs in my journey and it ended me as a master black belt and Lean Six Sigma I found that to be a beautiful fit for myself I’d love to talk with people very outgoing it’s process improvement it’s really helping others so I think I landed the perfect gig for my style of work that’s really wonderful you guys have been with the Postal Service for a very long time you don’t see people staying at one company that long so that’s really impressive thank you for sharing so what I’d love to know a little bit is you guys have been there a long time but the US Postal Service has been around a really long time like I don’t know 1700s or something so can you tell us a little bit about the history of USPS Stephen well in fact Tracy and the first record of postal services in the colonies was in 1633 and then 440 years later we actually had the the first route that was established and that was a monthly horse back route from New York to Boston and that first post office or Postal Service was in a cavern which is we may not think that associate post offices with taverns these days but that was common in England at the time so if you go another 10 years later then we really have the first post office in Philadelphia it’s a formal post office and then in 1774 Benjamin Franklin which I think most people on the call would recognize that name he was actually fired from a job as a postmaster by the British because there’s Revolutionary War or pre-revolutionary war activities but he then became the first Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service established in 1775 service fired Ben Franklin well that was the British that did that thank you so tell me what has ups done for us lately I actually think we have a slide to share about some of the things you guys do and how high-performing you guys are so tell us a little bit about that Steven can we hear you oh there you are uh yeah what do we go for you lately

well we actually moved mail at the rate of four hundred and eighty million pieces per day and in fact as we move as much mail as UPS does in a year and buy pieces so we also process that mail a rate of over 20 million pieces per hour we are not funded by tax dollars I think that’s a well-known but just reinforced here the Postal Service was in January voted as the most trusted brand in the United States and the Pew Research Center does a poll annually and that happened this past April and the Postal Service was voted by ninety-one percent of the respondents as the most favorable federal agency which is something we consistently get I know I love my postman so so tell us Rick do you have anything to add to a day in the life of the US Postal Service it’s a it’s a huge huge organization you know you think every day seven days a week we are delivering to every address in the United States I mean there’s no other company that comes close to what the Postal Service does on a daily basis so very pleased to be working with an organization this huge that provides that type of service to every single citizen in the United States yes that is very exciting so tell us what does USPS have planned for the future because you obviously had a very long history since the 1600s correct Meek’s I think I said 1700s 1600s all the way to present-day and I’m sure you’ve got some sort of plan of what you’re looking to accomplish in the near future maybe next five or ten years anybody want to talk about that and tell us a little bit about about where USPS is headed sure sure I’ll speak to uh speak to that Tracy thank you so much and that’s a great question you know I won’t go back as far as Steve did to the 1700s but I’ll go back a couple of years since 2007 the United States Postal Service has been on a great journey we’ve developed a couple of things under the Lean Six Sigma or continuous improvement umbrella the first started off with the development of the continuous improvement program office you know that was the start to us really pivoting into using continuous improvement as a way to get better in the United States Postal Service next came the design and the Lean Six Sigma curriculum then we followed that with hoshin planning and hoshin kanri if you don’t know is a way to to develop a strategic plan you know you’re looking at a closed term in long term with that and it aligns the nation you know we think we’re spread out so geographically that it’s it’s important that an organization this side have a very strategic plan and hoshin kanri helped us do that the next was the start of the lean leader program you know that’s where we grab a couple of individuals and really sharpen their their tool sets to be able to take on larger and larger projects inside the Postal Service and then came the master black belt program and more recently we have coaching activities and this is a way for us to grow our new upcoming leaders and we’ve kicked off two additional programs and that was operational excellence and racial excellence Leadership Academy and then you talk about the future you know what does that bring to us well in the future we’re planning to continue the momentum of this training in this application the mission statement for the office of continuous improvement in the United States Postal Service is to positively impact the work culture at the United States Postal Service by focusing on the well-being of all employees and developing a learning organization of problem solvers it’s a huge huge mission statement that we started back in 2007 and we continue to this day really focusing on our culture of learning and problem solvers wow that’s amazing so this was in 2007 that you really started working on a culture of well-being which I love and you know that’s probably a lot sooner than a lot of organizations recognizing how important culture is obviously that’s something lean and Six Sigma programs really try to reinforce in terms of culture but ultimately problem-solving that is something we’re seeing a lot of organizations trying to build that that that strength internally for problem solving and so it sounds like you’ve done a lot of things around the effects program and I think it would be really great to hear a little bit more about each and every one of those because you just rattle off like a bunch of stuff that 88 years might take some organizations so can you tell us a little bit about during the hoshin planning what did you do in terms of the strategy how did that help you guys in

terms of setting setting the goals for the Lean Six Sigma program yeah sure I can jump in there so as an organization you know we talked about that if being as large as we are you know it’s very important to be clearly aligned you know there shouldn’t be any green line so what the hoshin planning did is through initiatives so if we had strategic alignment to be first in class with overnight service you know that’s that’s the mission that’s that’s an hour hoshin as being the best so now comes in Lean Six Sigma you know you look at that you break it apart you figure out okay how do we improve this in chunks it’s on our strategic alignment it’s a plan for whole nation to go together as a postal family so we use hoshin kanri in conjunction with Lean Six Sigma to deploy process improvement projects to get the whole country up to par with those strategic alignments Wow and yeah it’s when you have it how many employees are at the Postal Service over 600,000 over 16,000 employees Wow yeah so having that strategic direction and did you so it sounds to me like you’ve also did some of these things in chunks right so you started initially with a few things maybe we can show that op X wheel that you guys have for the program so these are some of the different elements that you were talking about and so what would you say were the the ones that were hardest to do or if there was a challenge around implementing some of these pieces of it sure so for operational excellence you know if we had to describe some of the challenges we had it’s really just the start up you know as most organizations this large you know you have to start somewhere so what we learned was as on a massive scale it wasn’t convenient for us to be able to do that so we started off very small one of the lessons we learned was to really pick a micro operation and learn from that particular process we went into a processing center and not only that a processing center but also a work so within that processing center if we can figure out how to apply these techniques and with Lean Six Sigma operational excellence and hoshin kanri then we can be able to replicate that or socialize that into more and more operations within the organization so a good lesson for us was what start small really from the ground up gret gather the momentum there and then just start spreading those wins throughout the organization really helped us to catch this on pretty quickly did you encounter a lot of resistance at the beginning or did you feel like it was more just challenging because you’re such a large organization you know that’s a great question too you know we the challenges were both you know being as large as we are you you would first tell yourself okay let’s just do this all over the organization so the challenge was yeah it was the size that we had but that was also a benefit for us because we have so many well-educated rounded individuals in lean in Six Sigma and operational improvement and project management that once they got the education behind operational excellence the improvement and how the process worked it just it just seemed to gravitate to more and more reaches within the organization yes so it didn’t you’d mention a grassroots approach it didn’t come from the top and it didn’t say you will implement Lean Six Sigma it really came more from the grant the grassroots can you tell us a little bit about about how that worked and and why you think it was successful sure I’ll mention a couple of things and then let Steve jump in there to you know grassroots right I mean you’re talking about the culture when you talk about that and to build a a system of consistent improvement you know if you start there then you’re gonna win all day because that’s where the projects are done the process improvements are done at you know top-down approach is what we’re trying to do is to flip that pyramid around and say we’re really here to support those who are closest to our customer you know customer centric is is 100% who the United States Postal Service is how do we satisfy our customers so to do that we really you know change that pyramid and then we started supporting them at that level when we did that it just it just like let the same example that I gave you that it just grew quicker for us because that was the level closest to the customer so the improvements were seeing almost instantaneously when we did it that way oh wow that’s great yes we do find when you have when you put the customer first it’s hard for people to to argue with that right because often we do want to make it better for the customer we want to make it more effective and so it’s a good approach I really like that too how

about you Steven what would you say we’ve been talking about the OP X program some of the challenges you guys have running into and what are your thoughts well I think the most important thing regarding operations excellence at the Postal Service is it helped align the talent and the trained resources in lean and Six Sigma towards the strategic goals that the Postal Service had rather than than having a lot of people trying to do improvements all over different categories by maintaining that focus the strategic focus reduced the variation in the response and the customer satisfaction that we were trying to achieve by making that alignment to those strategic initiatives be consistent with every single project related to them yes good you know you know we have we hear a lot of people talk about their journeys and sometimes the biggest challenge they run into one of the first big challenges they run into is when they start a program you get the innovators and the early adopters onboard they’re you know excited and they’re like yes let’s do this and they start to spread the good news and do good projects and those kinds of things but then we have to move to the what some people call the frozen middle even and you have to change your strategy a little bit and figure out how to get more people on board did you guys run into that and is there anything that you can share that maybe helped with getting the larger group of folks on board at the US Postal Service I think I’ll say a few things too that it’s a good question one of the things is the Postal Service there was no undiscovered country in our continuous improvement Drive so it wasn’t just mail processing and delivery but as I mentioned I was working with accounting services so accounting timekeeping finances all of that is integral as part of our our operations excellence we don’t leave any stone unturned and it’s not as if it can be siloed in one part of the Postal Service and then you know people just don’t see it or experience it I think that was one thing Brooke you have other things I’m sure you want to add to that yeah sure I’ll chime in there you know that that middle right you know the early adopters we get that and then you get that middle that where you have your peak and you figure how do you move them across and for us it was really staying consistent you know we’ve been doing this since 2007 it wasn’t a let’s just try this out it was no this is the mission for the Postal Service this is we’re gonna adopt this so how do you apply that to move the middle over and it was consistency it was consistency it was advertising marketing the things that we were doing we’re being very upfront with including all the stakeholders you know and the stakeholders really aren’t just your high level managers the supervisors the stakeholders are also the employees you know they’re they’re the ones who are working the operation so when we include them in this whole mission of where we’re going you know that the the early adopters were the convincing factor to those middle middle people who just needed to be pushed just a little bit past that line you know it’s really and I keep bringing this back up again but that’s that culture change right and if you stay consistent you have the right message going out there you’re really helping them help themselves by using these tools operational excellence hoshin Connery upper you know Lean Six Sigma all these things lead to this momentum that you know you couldn’t stop now we’ve been doing it for such a long time that we’re going down and we’re gonna continue to do this and just bring more and more new hires into this you know so it’s been good that’s great well I’m gonna just share that if anybody has any questions about any parts of the Lean Six Sigma program that that Rick and Steven have shared please put them in that in the QA and we’ll see if we can answer any questions one person does want to know if you have your black belt Stephen yeah someplace I do have it yes okay so I will say what are some successes that you guys have seen is there anything in particular you know you always have those stories that really you know touch you or that you’re just like wow that was pretty amazing do you have a favorite success story that you want to share with our audience today sure I’ll start off with that in this one kind of combines in operational excellence hoshin kanri and then process improvement you know I talked about how we start off on a very micro scale you know and then it starts to just grow and expand upon itself so with operational excellence you know we went into one facility and dug down even deeper into

one operation and we really practice what it meant to have that whole operational excellence feeling you know what does it look like when you do that right which includes work cell Huddle’s includes continuing going to the gimbal and includes reflections you know so they really stayed through the the playbook of how to do this operational excellence with Lean Six Sigma and they had an excellent return on that one that operation was one of our opportunity operations throughout the country and in less than four months you know within three months they were top three in the nation and their operation and it was starting to be run by the employees themselves who handled it you know it was no longer a supervisor driven or manager driven you know it was one of those things where they took ownership of it they felt responsible for ensuring that our customers mail was being processed timely being effective in what they do every day looking for problems themselves you know after the four month period you know they they started finding these problems themselves and then raising their hand for help if it was something outside their box you know or we would come in there as engineers or process improvements because we had trained them well enough to be able to handle those things so it was a beautiful win for us to be able to see that this really does work when you flip that pyramid when you go down there and you support them you provide them with the tools and the resources to be able to be almost almost self improving you know it healed itself you know it wasn’t any big epiphany but it was a continuous consistent message and process improvement that just got them to be you know top in class you know and it and they’re still there you know that’s the amazing part is that we still take people into that facility and they go tour and you see the employees who run the machines actually huddling before their tour starts they’re talking about what today’s volume is like they’re talking about you know who’s gonna work what and where and it’s a beautiful sight to see you know it’s one of those things where we know we’re on the right track and we want to continue down that track with other operations Steve yes very nice thank you for sharing yeah and we haven’t been shy about our successes either so we do compete in the process excellence conference and competition it’s a worldwide competition we put there our accounting services program our process improvement program in competition there we’ve had projects around the consolidation of the support of Time and Attendance payroll adjustments a number of different things in the 2014 the that accounting service process group one the best process excellence program that had it started in the last pass of two years prior to that and we had a couple of projects that were finalists in that as well so you know we’re not we were playing on the international level in terms of the level of successes that we’ve had so we’re we’re very proud of that but also humbled by the challenges that we have every day and that we continue to address so very nice I’m reviewing some of the chat window comments and we are getting a couple of questions about hoshin kanri which is the Japanese equivalent of strategic planning really I’m talking about vision mission setting goals high-level goals and then measures can you share a little bit about a little bit more about what that process was for you guys for the US Postal Service and what were some of those things that were really impactful yeah I’ll be able to share that with you we actually ran one for fornia so the way that you’re absolutely right you know it’s strategic alignment how do we align ourselves to the rest of the organization not only the organization but to what’s important to the employees and our customers and that’s the reason why we’re here right so so an example of that let’s just say that one of our major events nationally is to be the safest organization to work for that’s that’s a big goal right but that’s something huge that you put up on a plaque and say this is what we’re gonna do for our employees is be the safest organization to work for it so that’s our alignment now what you do is you grab in all of these different parties all of these different hierarchies all of these different regions and say okay how do we align what we do daily to meet that goal what is it we have to do we’re all gonna be achieving that we’re all gonna go to that now comes the the clockwork of okay that’s what you’re going to do what projects what initiatives what things specifically are you gonna do to be able

to reach that who is responsible for those tasks who’s gonna be able to jump in and say hey I’m an owner to that I’ll make sure I do that in my side and then how are you gonna measure success what KPIs and what key performance indicators are you gonna use to measure success for us it would be something like accidents and be something you know to that effect that we’re measuring the safety of our work environment and not only lagging indicators you want to also look at the leading indicators what things can we specifically do well then let us you know predict success down the end so that’s that’s that’s the whole circle of a hoshin kanri is having a big VIP mission in five years or two years or three years here’s what we’re gonna be and then having the specifics all around there so that you knew daily everybody was leading towards that we’re all doing things to be able to be the safest organization to work for in the world and that’s kind of the big picture what a hoshin kanri does you you really bring in a lot of the stakeholders it’s a huge event that pays itself off because it’s it’s me running my region saying here’s what I could do to participate in the mission for the United States Postal Service to be the safest organization to work for oh thank you for sharing that I always like to say that when you do project level work for process improvement there’s a couple of outcomes you can improve productivity you can improve the customer experience or you can focus on making more money or saving money if you will and hoshin kanri helps you figure out which of those is most important right so a lot of people say well we want all of those things we want to save money and improve the customer experience and improve productivity but I think it can really help making even project level decisions having that alignment is really important because you might look at the end of the year and say look at all of our projects were to save money we didn’t do anything to impact the customer what were we thinking so and it’s very easy to go down that path I’ve seen I’ve seen organizations get a little lost right so they just said it was all about the customer but then they had finance in every meeting saying where’s the savings where’s the savings and so that is confusing for people and it could really be helpful to say what are we really trying to accomplish with this and with this initiative and I think having a clear mission like you guys have about the growing problem solvers is really important to make sure we people people remember what that whole that whole process is so the other question I have for you is sometimes and this is just again in seeing what other organizations sometimes go through sometimes people have training for their employees and then they say well not doing anything with it I don’t see the engagement what are some of the things that you’re doing to keep employees engaged beyond the training beyond the projects what are and and you had talked about Huddle’s and those kinds of things but what other things are you guys doing to keep employees engaged in in the in the initiative and the program I can speak to that there’s a couple of layers in there so the first layer to keep people engaged is at the headquarters labor and with that one we actually used a lot of marketing material we use a lot of monthly phone calls we use a lot of product shirring we use a lot of showcasing and we really wanted to spread the word to say you know what you’re doing is making an impact to the whole organization just like ocean Connery we’re all lined up together we’re all going in the same direction so for them the things that they’re doing we like to broadcast on a national basis to say hey you are individually benefitting the organization to satisfy our customers to quickly deliver the mail to do it safely to save cost to do it effectively you know all of those things to engage them is just to show them hey here’s the training here’s the material hand on hand let’s do this together and then once they get a success just broadcast that success multiple people have been really inspired by seeing their co-workers perform these projects you know and it’s after the training you’re absolutely right you conduct the training and then what comes after there’s more important I feel than just the training itself it’s the support network that you provide to them it’s the continued education past that you know because we have some green belts they turn into our black belts and that turn into our master black belts so it’s it’s the continued celebration of success it’s the continued involvement of the employees to really spread the word of the program it’s not that it’s not necessarily the program it’s their application of it yeah and just just celebrate in that and the nationally has really been a good a good record for us yeah this actually is a very specific question people are asking in the chat window as well the Q&A window is what

specifically are how are you guys celebrating that across such a large organization what are some of the things that you’re doing to create a little structure around that communication of success stories and what people are doing because it does work and I you know pains me to sometimes see that there’s so many good stories and organizations and people don’t know about it so what are some of the things Stephen I didn’t mean to interrupt you go ahead no actually it’s a great question as well the continuous improvement office has a formal communication that goes out to all employees and that supported by not only communication from each of the areas and districts but those those communications go straight to the employee not only to their home in the form of newsletters but but these things are shared every day in the workplace where the work is done so if there’s a great innovation to do things that gets passed through the organization and shared with the employees the last thing we want and anybody any employee in the postal service is to really be sleepwalking through their job that that we’re always aware as is anyone who’s familiar with how things are done at Toyota that you’re always looking for the next improvement and incremental improvement and how things are done and it’s not it’s not something that you’re waiting for a manager to do or somebody who is a continuous improvement practitioner everyone is involved in making that successful and I think that’s how the organization really supports that on a day to day basis wonderful thank you for sharing so what we’re getting a couple of questions it’s like they know where we’re going next they want to know how things are going in the pandemic for the US Postal Service so before we go into that into that discussion I’d love to share you guys are have a video that you’d like us to share and thank you for letting us share it with our audience so when we go ahead and play that video and then we’re going to talk a little bit about how things are happening during the pandemic at the US Postal Service we live in uncertain times however there’s one thing you can be certain of and men and women of the United States we’re here to deliver cards and packages from loved ones and also deliver the peace of mind of knowing that essentials like prescriptions are on their way every day all across America we deliver for you and we always will we live in uncertain times however there is one that’s an awesome video thank you for sharing that with us so go ahead and come back on so you can see your faces thank you so much and let’s talk a little bit about the pandemic and how what has how has that affected operations at USPS well the postal service is designated by law as an essential function of the government in times of emergency so this is not although it may be an unusual emergency emergency is something that were are used to providing services in so if you look at what we do during earthquakes and floods and wildfires I can remember the wildfires in California one of the first things that I saw and the last one was a postal vehicle driving down the road with all of these homes that had been burned down delivering mail so this is something that we’re not only obligated by the law to provide but something that we prepare for every day we have a continuity of operations function that does a number of you know desktop simulations to make sure that we’re ready for these types of things so maybe more specific to this particular emergency we’ve gone back to look at our processes to make sure that we have the proper social distancing that we’re still able to provide the service to the community not only in our retail windows but as well as our delivery services mail processing operations and still maintain their safety as well as our employees safety at the same time so we’ve gone back and looked at those processes and make those adjustments anyone who has looked at a postal carrier going through a community will see that their masks they’ve glove you go into our retail units we’ll see that Q line the lines have been changed

we have Plexiglas we have people with gloves and masks on so responding but I think the the real question is really the question the customer has to ask are you still getting your mail can you still get your stamps is your mail being your packages are they coming on time are you all right you know you are we responding in this time and I believe that that’s the ultimate test for us my during this whole pandemic actually did have to ship something so I went to my local post office and you guys were the very first in my area that actually had established processes for six social distancing there was tape on the floor and it actually said if you do not have a mask you cannot come in and that was actually the first time I had seen that you know at the post Postal Service so I went home and got the mask thankfully I’m not very far for the postal service but you stood up those processes very quickly quicker than many other groups and organizations did so how about you rigged what do you have to say about the pandemic and operations at USPS yeah you know I want to start off with a huge thank you to our postal family you know there’s a there’s a pride to be a postal employee you know and we provide normalcy you know when we going out there we’re delivering is it’s kind of a way for the the citizens to feel like everything’s gonna be okay you know cuz we’re out there and our postal family is really making sure that the medicines are delivered making sure that you know your communication continues to get out there making sure that all of these things continue to happen you know and then that’s what makes me so proud to be a a postal family member you know watching my fellow brother and sisters out there you know day in and day out making sure that this happens you know and they’re they’re gonna make it happen you know we were there to protect them you know as as ways to design processes that help to improve their safety you know so did not we did not hesitate you know we saw this coming on board the Postal Service enacted a team that got together and said hey let’s start let’s start putting these things together you know and we’re a huge supply chain to ourselves not only to the to the to the nation but we’re a huge supply chain to ourselves so we had to figure that out so there was a lot of continuous improvement things happening behind the scenes but all of it just went exponentially quicker because we had people in places that understood the supply chain that understood continuous improvement that understood that no matter what happens failure is not an option for us we have to make sure our citizens get their there their packages their mail you know their stimulus checks all of these things were we’re not not thought of as as we can just stop it was always going to be a consistent thing to our citizens and we appreciate the response we got back I mean people were we’re dressing up their mailboxes they were riding on sidewalks saying you know I love my carrier and they were putting their name on there you know and that was really heartfelt thanks from all of the citizens throughout the United States that were thanking the heroes in the United States Postal Service for doing what they they’re they’re they’re doing to provide their services to them you know through this dynamic really trying to make sure that that there was a sense of normalcy for them if everything broke down you can count on the Postal Service to be there to collect your mail and to deliver your mail for you so I am just so proud of our organization through this and knowing that we still learned a lot of lessons we’re gonna get quicker through this we hope this this is something that we have to continue to practice um going through we hope that we figure this out but you can count on us we’re gonna make it happen that’s amazing I never really thought about it like that yes that bringing that normalcy that sense of normalcy you know if you don’t get your mail you have to really worry when you don’t get your mail cuz something really bad so I really appreciate that that sentiment because it really is true and many people may not have thought of postal workers as essential employees but they really truly are and what is it what how has that been for your for your workers being an essential employee what does that mean for them a lot a lot a lot a lot I mean there are daily conversations and they all start with a huge thank you you know daily that happens you know when when postmasters walk into their office they’re just there saying thank you for showing up today thank you for helping to serve our customers you know when you come into the lobby you know they’re saying thank you for being here I mean it’s it means a lot right now to be a postal employee because the the us the the citizens now see the desire we

have to satisfy you the desire we have to make sure these things get home so most of our sentences do start off with thank you when we’re talking to fellow co-workers that’s wonderful that is a wonderful place in really making people feel like a sense of belonging and that they’re all in this together so thank you why don’t I go ahead and see if we have some additional questions in the Q&A to answer for some of our some of our we have a lot of questions in here so let’s see if we can get to some of these okay so we have one from Kristen she wants to know how have you followed up on previous projects to ensure they maintain their their gains that they don’t slip back into the old performance if you will speed or that they don’t lose money or cost money can either of you speak to that I’d Stephen and I got a couple things sure well once a program grows into what we call a control phase and that’s documented oftentimes these programs are not they’re not initially enterprise level type of initiatives but to the extent that they can be replicated and often are that’s where that sustained improvement measure has to take place so we are always looking back on these projects and making sure that when we do replications not only we sustaining that gain what we’re looking for additional improvements to tweak those things so no we we produce our own electronic badges the badges that we use to record time that took literally thousands of people nationwide to be able to do that and over time we’ve reduced that down to it’s not even a full one full-time equivalent person to do that so but that took several projects to get to that point so Ricky want to add some others to that as well yeah you know Steve you’re right on point so I’ll expand upon that a little bit and we talked a little bit about hoshin kanri when you have a larger vision when you have a larger mission then your hoshin should match like I told you about those specific projects who’s responsible what KPI is you’re gonna look for your projects if your projects come from bat your hoshin kanri then when they’re done you should be able to see the improvement on your hoshin your KPI your key performance indicator has gotten better if it hasn’t because you’re strategically aligned and you’re tracking it on on on that kind of hoshin kanri you’ll know that maybe that project either fell back so we got to go revisit or it got a little better and now we got to go back and revisit how do we get a little more better than that so it’s it’s all about continuous improvement a project is never really done unless it completely eliminates all root causes and it’s absolutely perfect and I haven’t done a perfect project yet you know I probably got to ninety-nine point eight or something but that still means that I have a little bit more to get better you know a ninety-nine point nine and a hundred so it’s the continuous nature your project should not be a destination it should really be a path you know it’s not somewhere where you just land and I’m done but it’s okay here’s one point in my path is I’ve I finished this portion of it and then and then go to the control phase and if you revisit those things then your projects become a life cycle of improvement they never become just a destination and they have a chance to fall off they fall off when there’s when you’ve reached what you think is nirvana I’ve reached the end and I’m done but because it’s continuous improvement we’re weave never really get there you know we’re always trying to get better and better so my advice was to start thinking of them just a little differently rather than just be a spot tool and actually be a part of this big journey you’re going on with this process improvement that way it doesn’t fall off and then if you include it on your hoshin connery you’ll be able to see it on a large scale to say does that particular project tie in to what this what we as an organization are trying to go after and if it does is it moving our indicator are we satisfying the customer are we doing it effectively are we saving those costs so they continue to move thank you for sharing that so we have another question from Erin this is great because we actually did touch upon this exactly but she wants to know how long does the average employee work at the United States Postal Service and does that loyalty also work against you when you try to implement cultural change or change management I’ll jump in there first and that’s that’s that’s a good question I wish I had the stats about how long they an employee gets here but you know we have quite a few people that if you go into a room and you ask who’s been here longer than 10 years 90% of the people will raise their hand you know and that’s in our training session

so I’m proud to say that you know the people that are in are in you know and then and in with that you know the loyalty the continued education they continued training helped them so there was a two-part question the first is you know the average lifespan or how long they’re actually with us and I can tell you that it’s it’s you know I’ll give you a gray number a long time you know they’re there for here for a long time and then you ask you know how does that hurt or how does that help with this continuous improvement are actually changed so that’s that’s that’s something like change management right you know what what can we provide to them how do you how do you manage change within a specific organization and I think that goes down to the word sale you know have I provided them the support am i providing them the continuous training you know are there things we can continue to do because you want to wake up every day and it’s a new day when you walk in and you say I can improve something today so I’m going to do something today so if we just provide that kind of incentive where you have the power to be able to improve your environment in your work cell that alone is part of the change management mantra to say okay well then I guess change can be okay if I control it if I have the tools to do it and improving us for the major you know as an organization the major goal of satisfying our customers how about you Steven do you have anything to share about that well in an organization with over 600,000 people that means you’ve got six hundred thousand opinions on how things can be done better and so how you manage that is really to open it up because a lot of people in environments like that will know you know if they only did it my way everything would be fine in continuous improvement in the project work that we do in the Postal Service we encourage those opinions to come out and be tested we can do piloting we can do design of experiment we can do a lot of different things to proof test and have a lot of people with experience to be able to help tweak ultimately what we put into place and and and that’s the beauty of it is to have a lot of people with experience to be able to help guide those improvements in the right direction thank you I just want to share that carlos says thank you to all the employees that you put USPS for their work greatly appreciated for their everyday work thanks again so we have another question and that question is from Eduardo and he wants to know what are some of the most common tools that you’re implementing on your journey so I’m thinking he’s thinking project tools like black belt level tools or green belt level or just really in general what kinds of tools are you finding our most helpful that you’re playing I’ll jump in there so if I had to get technical so if we’re talking about the master black belt level I’d have to say regression regression analysis we are we are spoiled as a postal service because we have trillions and trillions and trillions of rows of data we have data collect on every single piece of letter that goes through we have data on every single parcel that goes through our system we have data on trucks going from one location to another we have data on absolutely everything so part of our job you know as a master black belt or as a black belt would be part-time data scientist you know so we really invest a lot of time into looking at data science tools and that’s your regression there multiple regression that’s you know looking at trends over time trying to find patterns a lot of that stuff is available to us so I mean we have just this huge data pool that we play in and it’s and it and it helps us really sharpen our black belt or master black belt or those higher-level skills because we can now do design of experiments where we’re testing things and we’re using regression to say well did that make a difference and if it did not we go back to the data and we just tweak it so you gotta I mean we are just we’re so blessed as continuous improvement agents to have all of this data readily at our hands from anywhere in the United States and we can go in there we can look at the processes we can sharpen our saw through data analysis you know whether it be attribute data or we have continuous data you know it all depends on what you want to use but it’s there to be able to test your hypothesis and then go back and physically go to the gimbal to say it might and what am I seeing in the data is it actually live and happening in front of me so the mixture of those two worlds in tools would be your data science tools or your data hat and then going to the gimbal which is gonna be your lean tools to say is what I’m looking at in my process map or in my value stream map matching what it is I see in my data and then where can I go

to pinpoint improvements very nice thank you so much okay we are almost out of time I just had one other question that I wanted to ask you and I’m thinking that our audience may have that question to you because UC San Diego obviously is hosting this they’re also implementing Lean Six Sigma and they are very large scale organization – so do you have a me vice for large-scale government organizations that are embarking on a Lean Six Sigma journey yes certainly I think that the focus on the benefit of investing in employees to have those tools and get the empowerment to find better ways to improve customer service through lean and Six Sigma initiatives it’s immeasurable the return that you get on that I mean often times you’ll get people that will say ah you know it’s expensive to train somebody for a few weeks or send them off to do work on a project team what you’re trying to do is to get them to think continuous improvement constantly that is when they’re there they’re at the job that everything is opened and they have the right tools to eliminate a bias and collect the best way to approach a problem anything it would be to know the why and every single layer your how is the implementation you’re going to implement Lean Six Sigma in the organization now know the why why am i implementing this you know what am I trying to accomplish as an organization you know and especially being very large you know so you start off with your hoshin and you figure I need to have these continuous improvement experts in these particular categories so that’s my why now how well I can implement my Lean Six Sigma I can implement my training I can do all of these things if I know the why and then why am I being trained as an individual well because you provide value back to the organization and to the customer so having that Y is really super important especially when you’re kicking off put it on a big poster put it up on the wall it’s tearing it every day and then just keep marching till you get to that thank you so much Steven and Rick for joining us today and sharing your insights about your Lean Six Sigma journey at the United States Postal Service we really appreciate you participating in Palooza Tuesday let’s give him a round of applause virtual clapping you are welcome and that is a wrap for today we hope you enjoyed our Kaluza Tuesday session for today we hope that we see you next Tuesday when UCSD health gets a chance to talk about their story goodbye and have a fabulous day you