One of the most rewarding projects is helping nonprofits as a volunteer. Free Geek is based in Portland that recycles electronics and refurbishes and resells items to fund their organization. I was part of a volunteer team with Lean Portland that helped them learn about Lean methods over multiple years of support.
Their journey started in 2017. We started with some basic lean training on waste identification, 5S and flow. A few 5S events were conducted in different departments to get some quick momentum, and a value stream map was performed to understand the bottlenecks in the refurbished laptops area.
In 2020, the pandemic created a spike in demand for refurbished laptops for students (who could not afford them) when the schools shut down and moved online. Based on all the knowledge and improvements to date, they were able to change their process in order to triple their output of refurbished laptops to those in need from 100 to 300 per month.
You can watch an interview we conducted with them back in Jan 2021
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