Gemba Walk at Free Geek

This was our first official working session at Free Geek.

We arrived at 10am, and spent the next hour rotating through 4 different stations:

  1. Receiving donations
  2. Sorting (cables primarily)
  3. Secure data area (SDA) – wiping hard drives
  4. Build – getting the computers and laptops up and running to sell or donate

We each spent about 15 minutes observing each area. Not enough time to really understand it, but it was sufficient to understand the primary process steps and what was done.

After our observations, we met with the management team, and discussed next steps. We had lots of notes, but didn’t go into too much detail on what we saw. We spent the 30 minutes with them discussing how to proceed.

When we discussed the goal of the organization, and where they are constrained today with providing computers to the community, the Build area was deemed to be the biggest bottleneck. They would like to double the number of computers per month, as they feel they have demand to support it within the community.

For next steps, we will be spending time in the Build area, taking many more observations and timings, to understand current state. We will be meeting every Friday afternoon from 2-4pm. If you are interested in helping each week, contact Brion.

The Operations Director had recently come back from a visit to another similar organization in Seattle, called Interconnection, which already uses Lean methodology. They are able to process many more computers per day with less staff and volunteers. This might be a good organization to benchmark with the entire team at some point.

I feel we are off to a good start, and we have an excited and engaged management team at Free Geek supporting us!

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