The United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service has gone through some major changes in the past twenty-five years due to the increase in popularity of technologies such as email, fax machines, the internet and mobile phones. Sending letters and paying bills using the traditional method of using stamps no longer became the preferred method of sending correspondence. The postal service realized that major changes needed to be made and therefore decided to implement a quality improvement program utilizing the balanced scorecard approach.
The following paragraphs summarize my thoughts and conclusions on their improvement process using the “voice” of the customer, employee and business. It’s interesting to see in companies how at first glance employees that have no customer interaction actually affect customer service and the financial results of a business. What may seem as unrelated parts of a business; the customer, the employee and business operations are not separate entities but instead they are all interrelated.
The United States Postal Service Essay Example
For example, the Voice of the Employee supports improved internal processes (the Voice of the Business) for the simple reason that satisfied employees will make a company run smoother and therefore more profitable. There are many examples; low morale leads employees to do just enough of their job duties to get by and not to do any extra work or contribute any valuable ideas. However, if employees feel valued, they are more willing to share ideas for improvement which may help the company eliminate waste and save money.
Employees that get along and show respect for one another will spend their day focusing on their jobs instead of wasting time bickering and involved in office politics which will decrease overall productivity. Violence or sexual harassment in the workplace may lead to costly lawsuits which will affect company profitability even if it is as minor as attorney fees, however proper training will teach employees the importance of acceptable behavior in the workplace. Informing employees that their safety and well-being matters to the company will affect a company’s insurance rates.
With proper safety training, not only for the OSHA certification requirements, but also for minor accident prevention such as slips, trips and falls can save companies thousands of dollars in unnecessary hospital bills, insurance rates and worker’s compensation claims. Job training, tuition reimbursement and other avenues for learning and improving and career advancement provide a stable work environment with less employee turnover and a greater company loyalty with opportunities for promotions and advancement, decreasing the expense of hiring new employees on a regular basis.
The Voice of the Business supports customer satisfaction by improved processes, streamlining operations in all areas and departments to become more efficient. This efficiency as it relates to the post office will result in a lower incidence of mail and packages delivered to the wrong address. The business can also support customer satisfaction by giving the customer access to their services even though the post office may be closed at the time. Examples include a vending machine for stamps inside stores or shipping kiosks inside department or Target stores so customers can ship gifts directly from the store.
The post office should also have attendants that are cross-trained. They can sort mail during lull times and work a register during peak times. All too often there are long lines at the post office but available stations. The customer service call center at the USPS could use some revision. With complicated menus and vague options, it is difficult to reach an attendant to find an answer. I would like to include another measure that does not appear to be on the balanced scorecard; competitiveness.
Since FedEx and UPS began to compete with the postal service for reliable package delivery for businesses, they have been constantly eroding away at USPS’s market share. Although recently the USPS has started a marketing campaign aimed at the affordability and reliability of small businesses using the postal service, FedEx and UPS are still a major threat to the postal service profitability which makes the measure of competitiveness such an importance I think it should be included. Here are few ideas that could possibly help the USPS regain some of their market share.
I think the USPS should find a niche that UPS and FedEx cannot fulfill like the speedy delivery of first class packages. Since UPS’s and FedEx’s base pricing starts at one pound packages, the USPS can take over this underserved market by allowing customers to ship First Class packages (under 16 ounces) with tracking from USPS. com. Currently if a business would like to ship First Class packages with tracking, they need to subscribe to a service like stamps. com or endicia. com for a fee of $15/month.
Another option is to continue to offer Saturday delivery because UPS and FedEx do not deliver on weekends. Team up with stationary and greeting card websites like papyrusonline. com or Hallmark. com and offer greeting cards that come with pre-stamped envelopes that have pre-paid postage which costs less than a first class stamp(bulk mail rates) or have a collection of bulk mail greeting cards that will be sent out by Hallmark or Papyrus. The post office can also start a campaign to bring back the delight of receiving greeting cards in the mail as opposed to nowadays receiving only bills and junk mail.
According to Robert Kaplan and David Norton, there are four perspectives of the balanced scorecard; Financial, Internal, Customer, and Innovation and Learning. They felt that there were other measures besides traditional financial performance to measure a company’s success. To conclude my thoughts here are two opposing viewpoints to the balanced scorecard method. The main advantage of using a balanced scorecard approach is that this method is a way to measure company performance that is not related to the financial aspect of the company.
Another advantage is that the scorecard is tailored to the company’s needs and is designed around their unique operations. Also, a company can measure past performance and evaluate it next to current and estimated future performance. The disadvantage is that there is not a single set of identical metrics that you can use to compare the company in question to a high performance company; by using a balanced scorecard approach to compare improvements between different companies is similar to comparing apples to oranges. Another disadvantage is that this type of method is labor intensive and may be expensive to implement.