Playing it safe

The Madison, WI, Post Office doesn’t just talk a good safety game. It springs into action.

The office has been running a safety “kaizen” project since October.

Kaizen, an Asian term meaning “continuous improvement,” is a business philosophy that involves all workers in an organization, from the humblest to the highest. No one is exempt.

In Madison, this involves safety teams visiting stations for three days at a time, giving demonstrations on proper protocol and, importantly, getting feedback from workers.

“We want to hear their stories,” Acting Postmaster Diana Nygaard said. “We want to learn of hazards on the route that management can help with.”

Todd Rideout, a rural carrier, found the visit to his station helpful.

“We need reminders,” said Rideout, who was recognized for 18 years of safe driving. “The job can get monotonous” and the reminders help refocus attention on safety, he added.

Fostering a culture of safety is one of the Postal Service’s priorities and a tenet of Delivering for America, the organization’s new 10-year plan.

In Madison, managers and employees alike said they’re glad to do their part.

“We’re getting employees to interact and be aware both in and out of the office,” said Christian Kriesel, the acting station manager. “We’re making the learning fun so that safety becomes a habit.”

Small talk, big deal

A California letter carrier’s answer to a customer’s question has resulted in a shipping deal worth more than $304,000 for the Postal Service.

Maria Mousavinia, who is based in Whittier, was talking with the chief executive officer of a medical device company when he asked her about setting up an account to handle returns of medical monitors.

After going back to her Post Office, Mousavinia passed on the key details through Customer Connect, a joint program with the National Association of Letter Carriers that encourages carriers to identify sales opportunities for USPS.

Martin Espinoza, a California 4 District business development specialist, and David Gonzales, a senior sales executive, followed up with the customer.

They closed a deal to handle the company’s returns, which had been done by another shipper. The deal also included the customer switching $200,000 in parcel shipping to USPS.

In total, the deal is worth $304,500 in new estimated annualized revenue for the Postal Service.

Sales generated from Customer Connect leads count toward the USPS Power of One campaign to raise revenue through sales leads from employees.

“Maria has been a letter carrier for more than 30 years,” said Mary Anderson, small-business engagement director at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC. “When a customer reaches out for help, she brings that experience to bear to answer questions, ask questions and pass on the information.”

The Postal Service is encouraging as many employees as possible to submit at least one lead through any of its six lead programs by Sept. 30. The Small Business Sales team is tracking program participation rates through its weekly “Drive to 35” downloadable report.

The Small Business and Lead Generation Programs Blue page has more information about Customer Connect and the other employee lead programs: Business Connect, Clerks Care, Mail Handlers, Rural Reach and Submit a Lead.

Know your benefits

Postal Service employees can participate in an upcoming webinar to learn about Medicare and the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program with Blue Cross Blue Shield.

The session, “Medicare, FEHB and Blue Cross Blue Shield,” will be held Friday, June 11, at noon EDT.

Christel Bull, a federal account manager for CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, will conduct the webinar and discuss how Medicare works with FEHB, continuing health coverage into retirement and determining whether you need Medicare Part B. There will also be a live Q&A session.

Employees interested in participating should register before the session on the webinar website. After signing up, directions on accessing the webinar will be emailed to each registrant.

Participation is voluntary. Nonexempt employees may only participate off the clock or during authorized breaks.

For more information, email the USPS Health and Wellness team.