The Rebuilding Center Update – Day 7

This weeks community consulting event with The Rebuilding Center was an amazing example of teamwork on everyone’s part.

The Rebuilding Center staff has expanded the Customer
Kiosks project and it looks great! I would normally call this the standardization phase of implementation…..where we copy things that work well and duplicate across the facility. That’s not really how things work out when you’re using reclaimed materials. They end up being the same only totally different depending on what we have to work with. Here are a few examples:


They look good and they work well in an environment that thrives on finding a use for discarded materials.

Implementing these kiosks in key areas of the facility help the shopper navigate the unique shopping experience at The Rebuilding Center. We spent some time on Saturday looking at ways to manage this improvement with standards. Asking questions like “Who will take care of this?” “Should maintaining this be assigned to a person or position?” “When will that happen?”

It was more talking about which questions need to be asked than what answers do we have.


Lumbar Yard 5S

There were handshakes for all, smiles, laughter and feelings of accomplishment from both groups as the team disbanded for the day. This is the people side of Lean. Helping others improve at the Gemba by sharing.

I recall many years ago when I was first introduced to Lean Consultants how they marched us all in the conference room for 3 full days and then left without touching a thing in the shop. We were subjected to whiteboards, charts, graphs, The House of Lean, and brought up to speed on the Japanese words for concepts we did not understand at that point. When they left we still had too much inventory, a disorganized cluttered shop and 13 hour days of making things we really didn’t need to make…..but no one walked with us and showed us anything different. Nothing changed.

We were fortunate to engage another Lean consultant that went with us to the shop floor and looked at what we were doing. He showed us how to measure and count and see waste. He worked with us where the value was being created and made us feel that we were doing this together. He helped us create a better work space and go home to our families on time. That made all the difference! If Anders Nielsen is reading this…Thank You sir.

Saturday’s event at The Rebuilding Center felt like the way it should be. Working together to make small improvements which impact something we actually do. Some small thing changes and our work is safer, easier, faster and we are better off for it.

I think it was Zig Ziglar that said “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Looking forward to our next event!!  Stay tuned.

Bret Matthews

  1. I appreciate the insights and the pictures, they help tell the story. Looks like great work was done and the human dynamic stayed front and center!

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