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The primary aim of the United States Postal Service (USPS) is to ensure that mail gets delivered. It is mandated by Congress to see to it that letters, parcels, and other forms of mail are brought to their intended recipients safely and on time. Getting the job done requires not only the pooled efforts of letter carriers, postal clerks, and mail handlers. Due to the systems and equipment used for this huge task, the USPS also hires technical people in its roster. That includes operations industrial engineers.
An operations industrial engineer of the US Postal Service assigned to the field is tasked with overseeing the nationwide industrial engineering, standardization, and continuous improvement policies, standards, and processes of the country’s mail processing operations. The aim is to improve service and cost performance of the premier mail organization in the world.
If you want to be an operations industrial engineer of the US Postal Service, you will need to have a Bachelor of Science degree in an engineering program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology or a Masters of Science in an engineering field, also from a college or university accredited by ABET. You need to have knowledge of industrial engineering theory, principles, techniques, and practices related to layout planning, work simplification, process analysis, work measurement, quality control, ergonomics, and material handling. In addition to this technical knowledge, you need to be able to provide oral and written technical guidance, training, and policy interpretation related to industrial engineering standardization and continuous improvement processes.
Other requirements include the ability to evaluate experimental, prototype, and retrofit equipment; ability to implement the principles of industrial engineering; the ability to develop layouts in all aspects of the job; and finally, the ability to lead performance improvement teams.
On the job, the USPS website lists the following specific tasks of an operations industrial engineer:
- Performs analysis of mail processing operations using industrial engineering and continuous improvement principles to improve service, productivity and cost performance.
- Implements national standardization programs and processes through direct involvement in mail processing operations to improve service, productivity, and cost performance.
- Develops costing and staffing models to promote the effective use of employees and equipment; provides advice and guidance on how to best schedule employees to meet mail volumes and time constraints.
- Develops alternatives to improve operating performance and reduce costs; monitors the implementation of new procedures and evaluates and reports on results.
- Provides input for the preparation and justification for new and altered facilities and equipment; recommends changes to workroom floor layout of equipment and operations.
- Provides technical advice and guidance to managers throughout the facility on all aspects of engineering; may coordinate the work of operations support specialists and technicians.
- Oversees and monitors operations and equipment performance using national and local reporting metrics to improve service, productivity, and cost performance.
- Leads multi-functional teams working on service, cost and productivity improvement efforts.
- Provides training to mail processing managers and employees on standardization and continuous improvement tools and processes using nationally developed training material.
- Communicates orally and in writing to provide technical advice, program guidance, training and policy interpretation to both Headquarters and field offices.
- Exercises a normal regard for the safety of self and others; uses normal protective care of materials and equipment used.