Holland Rescue Mission was struggling to keep up with their donations, and needed to find a way to do the work more efficiently. The donations are sold, which generate funds to support their nonprofit.
They connected with local chair manufacturer Haworth. They provided some volunteer experts in the Haworth Management System (HMS) to help them out. HMS is a customized version of the Toyota Production System that they learned from Toyota.
They trained them on the fundamentals of Lean, led them through an airplane simulation, then helped them apply these concepts to their work.
They evaluated the current state process: inspection 1, inspection 2, categorized, priced, tagged, hung, and shipped. They identified the different wastes in the process and shared their observations on sticky notes. The notes were prioritized down to the top 5 ideas.
Improvements included the reduction of an inspection step, and reduced numerous hand off points. They were able to achieve their productivity goals, reduce inventory, and it gave the team new skills on problem solving.
Ashley (A): I came to the Holland Rescue Mission because I was seeking a better foundation for me and my children.
Heather (H): That I can be a part of society again, that I can be a part of life again.
Travis (T): I mean, that’s what they basically teach us, to do the essential things here so you can establish yourself when you get a real job.
Darryl (D): Holland Rescue Mission is over 100 years old and we’ve met the emergency crisis needs of the homeless in Ottawa and Northern Allegan County for those 100 years.
Scott (S): Part of that, though, we have our Restoration Academy, which is a program that works out of Restoration here, which helps those people who struggle with substance abuse and chronic homelessness, maybe past criminal history.
Nicole (N): So we give them biblical counseling, academic counseling, and work therapy.
D: They get up in the morning after a good meal at the mission, we bring them over here to Restoration Academy, they work in the warehouse.
S: We are a donation processing center. Our trucks go out and pick up donations from people’s homes, businesses, our community, as well as we receive donations here at this facility.
N: We weren’t keeping up with the donations that were coming in. In fact, when I first started in this facility, front to back, there were huge cardboard boxes full of items to be sorted and processed.
S: We needed to accomplish a higher production late in our clothing line. We were struggling from the beginning of getting our operation off the floor and getting it going to produce what we needed to do to support our stores, which ultimately supported our programs at Holland Rescue Mission. That’s why we needed a system to put into place.
Tony (T): The Haworth Management System is a business system to drive continuous improvement, member engagement, while eliminating waste.
Rick (R): And this culture is supported by tools to help us improve our processes.
T: And be able to recognize that and then problem solve in order to make their processes more efficient.
R: So Haworth became involved with the Holland Mission through a number of chance encounters really.
T: There was an opportunity for our group, the HMS team, to help the Holland Mission become more efficient in what they do.
Brian (B): Teaching them tools that not only can relate to the workplace but in their everyday lives.
R: We started the first day with a training to bring them up to speed on what is HMS.
B: Deliver some of the fundamentals of what Lean and continuous improvement were all about.
R: And then following it up with the subsequent days of actually applying those tools to their actual work area and driving improvement.
N: They were overwhelmed, kind of the deer in the headlights look, “Oh my goodness, what is this?”
A: I don’t know what any of this means. I was freaking out.
B: A really great way that we thought to actually be able to demonstrate these principles and methodologies and tools that we’d be using throughout the week is actually through a simulation.
R: A factory simulation building paper airplanes.
B: And surprisingly enough, there were a couple of folks who’d had never built one.
T: Haworth was the first time I’d ever made a paper airplane.
R: And the thought behind it was we designed it to actually to fail initially.
Cory (C): You could see what the process was going to be like when we got out to actually do continuous improvement out on the production line.
R: The only thing you need is a ream of paper, so it works pretty well from that standpoint.
N: You know, just to have them go a-ha and to see that moment in their faces and then start to go, “Okay, I see how this applies.”
R: What you’re actually producing, it’s not so important as just having a process that they can fix.
A: I was like, okay, these terms and these diagrams aren’t so bad. I can figure this out. I got it now.
B: So now it comes into the point where we need to look at current state information that we talked about.
Shirt: So if I’m a donated shirt, I’m brought to the line and dumped on a table. I’m inspected for stains and rips. I move to the next table. Again, I’m inspected for stains and rips and, if all is good, I’m put in a box. From there, the pricer grabs me, determines my value, and puts me in a bin. I then move on to the tagging station, where I’m tagged with my value. I then get a hanger and I go on a rack and, eventually, I’m loaded onto a truck and shipped to the store.
R: They went out and did the observation, but observation with the understanding of what the wastes are.
A: Using the seven wastes really opened up my eyes, you know, just like how many steps we’re taking to get materials, just all those little details.
R: And they came back and we used one of the favorite tools of HMS is post-it notes.
B: Began to write these things on sticky notes, prioritize the things we wanted to work on.
C: We need to look at these 100 items and come up with five that are going to cost the least but have the greatest effect on the line.
N: We definitely tried different ideas, but if something didn’t work, it didn’t work, we moved onto the next thing.
H: Okay, this doesn’t work here, we need to switch this up here.
R: They identified the things that they wanted to do and they did them.
T: Once we all put our brains together, man, it was phenomenal.
B: So a couple of the improvements that we made:
Shirt: So if I’m that same donated shirt, after I’m dumped on the table, it’s immediately determined if I’m fit for the store. If I am, I move to the next table, where a pricer determines my value and tags me with a price. I then get a hanger, I go on a rack and, eventually, I’m loaded on a truck and shipped to the store.
B: So the whole summation of what happened was we reduced inventory, we reduced the footprint, and we met productivity goals.
R: This was actually one of the better kaizens I’ve been involved in as far as actual results.
N: My goal for them was to be able to say, “I believe more confidently in myself and my abilities.”
A: It’s taught me a lot.
T: We took it and we learned from it.
H: Well, I just didn’t know that my mind could think that way about a problem.
D: The real impact is in the changed lives.
S: They found a new hope within themselves that they could do this thing.
T: And for the students themselves, what we’ve afforded them the opportunity to do is to learn tools.
D: Job training and marketplace skills for the homeless that we’re working with so that they can reenter the job market and achieve their part of the American dream.
B: I mean, that’s the essence of what HMS is all about. It’s about giving people the tools and the empowerment to change the way that they work and, in this case, change their lives.