14 January 2010

Sorting good and bad

I thought it was time to give you some idea of what we have been doing over the last 11 months.
We are in charge of the local Post Office.  It is a very small office, with full post office services, but all procedures are manual.  Some of the daily paperwork is in triplicate with multiple duplicate subsidiary forms with plenty of totals and subtotals all over the forms.  These are a result of lots of historical use and so we just inherit what we have been given.
The majority of Post Offices in Australia are fully computerised but we are just too small.  There are plenty of other manual post offices around Australia but they are typically in various little country towns and villages.
We also do not have mail delivery to people's homes. All mail comes to the post office and we sort and place it in each person's folder.  You can see the folder system behind Ariel.
Locals then pop in during the day and collect their mail.  Ariel has been doing the mail for some years now and knows many of the relationships of the locals well.
"Oh, you're Jane Doe.  Your mail is with your friend John Citizen and his son Fred Bloggs."
We also get challenging delivery targets such as one address to "Daddy, So and So Street, [Our Village]".
There were lots of potential "Daddy"s in So and So Street, so we had to have the letter on display and the whole village was able to help pin point the correct Daddy.
One of the first things we did upon taking over the ship was create a new Post Office bench which gave us more room to handle all the letters and parcels, and add more shelving and drawers to organise all the stamps, forms, stickers, packing, boxes, tape and so on.
The key to improving the system was organisation and a willingness to delve into the manual to work out what the procedures should be.  Now that is very dry reading!


Paula D said...

No dry reading at all. In fact I find it very interesting. It is amazing to me to have the "relationships" you have in your village. Something you don't find too often in the US.

Karen said...

Interesting. I am sure your village is glad you and your family took over the shop and the mail. What a great opportunity for your family. When can I come visit?

DavidofOz said...

The "Dry Reading" refers to the official Post Office manual. It has been written in various official bureaucratic speak over the years and has no index and a poorly organised table of contents.
So we started at page 1 and searched!