The design of a mail sorting plant necessitates a very detailed analysis of the time-based flows of the various products, taking into account their containerization levels. This is essential in order to dimension the plant appropriately, and more importantly in order to avoid no-value added material movements between staging areas and the points of mail induction in each work center.
decision analysis partners led a study consisting of modeling detailed mail processes to profile the 24-hour mail flows through the Ottawa mail processing center of Canada Post Corporation. Flow profiles were aggregated to container levels in order to assess the space requirements at various times of day, for each product type, and at all work centers (manual and automated).
A driving objective of the Ottawa study was to develop a set of guidelines that will be future-proof, i.e. that will protect CPC from future changes in mail mix or business strategy, as well as introduce to CPC the latest thinking in terms of mail processing strategies inside the plant to minimize operating costs and maximize asset utilization (i.e., utilization of stackers, tray, and containers), but also by reducing the total number of stackers and sorters.
Working hand in hand with the Industrial Engineering staff at CPC, our team provided a comprehensive and detailed set of analyses at the work center level for time-based flows and space requirements. These ‘Detailed Work Center Design’ documents served plant engineering as their blueprint to configure the layout of the Ottawa plant.