The Strategic Mailing Partnership (SMP) is hailing a significant project which has brought together key industry representatives to maximise the value of mail – and plans can now be revealed for Year Two.

Made up of over 10 different organisations across the mail supply chain and over 30 subject matter experts across mailing houses, Access Carriers, Royal Mail, the SMP’s ‘Kaizen’ project has completed its first year of activity and has put plans in place for its 2018-19 priorities.

In its inaugural year, Kaizen – also known as the Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices – has included the value stream mapping across the supply chain to identify mutually beneficial efficiency opportunities by tackling common challenges head-on such as mail forecasting and conveyance, tray utilisation, mail handover and data.

The aim of Kaizen is to reduce non-value added tasks such as double handling, pushing containers around and preparing mail for the next process.

To ensure the activities being undertaken are driven by the industry as a whole, the Kaizen Steering Board was set-up in August 2017 made up of senior representatives each across mailing houses, Access Carriers and Royal Mail, tasked with reviewing progress, removing blockages and setting strategic direction.

One of the major successes in the last year has been the Royal Mail launch of the reduced sortation option for machinable mail as well as delivering significant efficiency savings across the supply chain as a result of improved tray utilisation and reduced operational handling costs.

Looking ahead, the group has earmarked three areas to prioritise which are mail handling and conveyance, product review and Mailmark and Data.

The Kaizen Steering Board will meet this October to finalise the strategic framework for 2018-19.

Judith Donovan CBE, Chair of the SMP, said: “Kaizen has been a roaring success right from the get-go. It just shows that it’s something that the industry needed and has proved to be another way we can get the key players together to maximise the value of mail through supply chain collaboration.”

Melvin Green, who is representing mail producers as part of the Kaizen project and is the Postal Services Manager at The Lettershop Group, added: “This was the start of new era in cross industry cooperation with the end goal to make improvements and efficiencies for all members of the supply chain.

“Momentum is building towards some of the medium and long term goals of the group. Personally speaking, this has been both an enjoyable and rewarding process and I am enjoying working with colleagues from all across the industry to hopefully make improvements for all members of the mailing industry supply chain.”

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