Postal Service gets the most from training

PQ Systems has supplied training to the United States Postal ServiceWhen Diane Sofastaii, quality analyst for the United States Postal Service, wanted training on using SQCpack for postal employees, she called PQ Systems and arranged for customized training to meet the needs of the service. Seminar leader Matt Savage spent two days at the USPS facility in Tampa, providing this training and responding to individual requirements.

More and more organizations are seeking this kind of training to meet their needs for SPC or software training. Advantages of on-site training include the ability to customize the learning and to use shared data, an opportunity for members of an organization to interact about issues they may face, and cost savings that accrue from decreased travel expenses.

Increasing interest in on-site training represents a "significant change" in customer training needs, and PQ Systems has responded with product-specific experts who are ready to offer customized software training.

Training paced for various levels of expertise

Sofastaii and her employees, who came together from facilities in Tampa and Pensacola as well as sites in Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and Texas, were pleased with the training they received. "Some of the participants were just beginning with SPC, and this was helpful because the training was paced in such a way that it responded to various levels of expertise," she says, adding that she had had "positive feedback" from the group. The Postal Service is not short on data that can be used to apply SPC. It must respond to a variety of customer needs and challenges. In fact, as Sofastaii points out, it must deliver to every residence in the country, and it handles everything from postcards to large packages. "One time we had a tire come through, with just a mailing label on it," she says.

The sheer volume of mail that reflects this broad customer base is staggering indeed. In an average night, Sofastaii says, the Tampa facility alone processes from 650,000 to 800,000 pieces of mail. Special occasions such as Valentine's Day present unique challenges, such as those generated when people enclose small gift items or candy in Valentine's Day mailings. These can jam machines and create slow-downs. Managing variation and improving quality are constant challenges to the postal service.

Training allowed workers to discuss common challenges

When the postal workers enrolled in PQ Systems' training, a secondary benefit was provided by the opportunity to come together to discuss common challenges and opportunities. "We're all trying to improve quality," she says, but that common goal can be pursued in different ways. The on-site training offered informal time for exchange that a public seminar would not necessarily provide.

"Both kinds of training have their advantages," says sales manager Michael Robinett. "It's sometimes good to interact with those from other industries," to enlarge one's understanding of the kinds of applications a software program may have. In an on-site training session, on the other hand, specific customer needs can be addressed in a customized way. "If participants want to spend the entire session on a single statistical challenge they're having, we can do that," Robinett points out.