Utilizing “Lean Thinking,” Oakland University Industrial and Systems Engineering students Monisha Vasudeva and Sagar Bajaj have been helping Humble Design — a nonprofit that furnishes homes for individuals and families transitioning out of homelessness — improve their operations and optimize the space inside the organization’s warehouse in Pontiac, Mich.
Humble Design staff members, ISE faculty members, OU faculty members associated with the Pawley Lean Institute, and representatives from LEI have been providing assistance and guidance to the students throughout the process.
Already, Vasudeva and Bajaj have made several improvements to the warehouse, including:
- Optimizing the space by categorizing the total warehouse into three sections: Section A (rugs, couches), Section B (furniture, bed frames, mattresses, and hygiene products), and Section C (kitchenware, lamps, designer’s workstation, toys, art, sheets, curtains, electronics, and toys);
- Implementing new safety regulations inside the warehouse;
- Categorizing items in the warehouse based on color, size and shape;
- Using racks to efficiently place the furniture, rugs, metal bed frames, etc. based on their size, weight and height by utilizing the warehouse’s vertical space, instead of the floor space;
- Identifying and eliminating waste by arranging for recycling twice a week instead of once a week.