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Dashboards Make it Simple
By Joe Bodary
Michigan State 925 Secretary and Postmaster of Lincoln Park
It seems we get new tasks to perform weekly with the development of technology that allow us to focus on details of our operations. As with anything new, it takes some time to get proficient at pulling reports, analyzing them and taking action to make improvements.
I have found things are not as complicated as they appear; they are new, which makes it seem difficult. The best thing to do is break a task down into a simple process that can be repeated every day, week and month so it becomes part of your everyday routine.
How many times have you received an email with instructions on how to get into a program that includes 45 slides with screen shots? The first thing you think is, “I don’t have time for this.”
First, I briefly go over the slides, then go into the program and see if I can navigate without the aids (slides). If I need to look back at them, I will, but I usually find it’s not that complicated, then wonder why I had 45 slides. I make a note of what I click on in a list format so it fits on a short piece of paper, then use that to go into the program until I’m comfortable with doing it without any aids.
I break it down into simple steps, easily understandable for anyone. That’s what I share with my staff. When you see a short list of steps, you are more likely to use that program because it doesn’t look time-consuming. When you see 45 slides, your mind automatically dismisses the thought of even trying to go into it.
You, as postmaster, need to break it down for your staff so they feel comfortable using the program, thus making you a more successful manager. With the handheld scanners, we are able to gather so much information about what a carrier is doing that, if we use the data wisely, we all should have efficient operations.
Yet, most delivery supervisors do not go in to look at the reports because they feel they don’t have time. With more and more of that information going into the Delivery Management System (DMS) program, it’s easy to click on it and open the data by going into just DMS.
The USPS is working on dashboards that make data simple and allow field users quick access in an effort to eliminate organizational drag that ties us down to our desks and doesn’t allow us to actually be out in our operations. Rather than clicking away to get to a program, it’s a one-click stop.
With these new dashboards, it should help eliminate the excessive emails you receive that include everyone in the district, area and country, which necessitates you having to look for your own office info. Instead, you can go to the dashboard and click your office.
We currently have a Finance dashboard that includes—with one click to open—items such as clock ring errors, OT alerts, employee availability, Flash, consecutive days worked and many more items—all from one page. And we rarely see any emails coming from Finance. Each department is currently working on their individual dashboards.
So, any program that is not on a dashboard, break it down into a simple process. The next time the USPS introduces you to a new dashboard, embrace it! It will save you a lot of time and help you be more successful in your operation.