Team players

Greater Indiana District Distribution Operations Manager Cherie Harwell, a member of the team helping Chicago District strengthen service, speaks to Parcel Post Distribution Clerk Linda Starr at the Cardiss Collins Processing and Distribution Center.

Chicago District is getting by with a little help from its friends.

Great Lakes Area has formed a team to help the district strengthen service through a series of Lean Six Sigma business improvement projects. The 75-member team is comprised of managers from across the area, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and much of Missouri and Wisconsin.

“We’re here to help,” said Greater Indiana District Manager Larry Diegel, who leads the team and credits Great Lakes Area VP Jakki Krage Strako with the approach. “Partnership is the operative word.”

The team works with stations, plants and administrative departments to make sustainable refinements to their respective operations.

Members have also divided into sub-teams that focus on specific areas, including Priority Mail, First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, Parcel Select and scanning.

The process underscores the importance of Lean Six Sigma to the Postal Service’s efforts to boost efficiency and foster innovation.

The teamwork approach also reflects the value of collaboration, Diegel said.

“The issues here are not only inherent to Chicago, they’re across the area. What we learn here will be transferred to other districts,” he said.