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Crossroads Community Services leverages lean management

Techniques enabled the food pantry to distribute millions of pounds of food in 2020.

Crossroads Community Services’ primary objective is alleviating pockets of food insecurity in the southern sector of Dallas County, as well as in Ellis and Navarro counties in Texas. Through its in-house pantry and network of 150 distribution partners, Crossroads Community Services supplies nutritious food to low-income individuals and families in need.

On Jan. 2, 2019, Crossroads Community Services grew its operation from about 10,000 square feet to 72,000 square feet. To do so, it sought assistance from a materials handling products provider’s authorized solution and support center to learn the best practices of receiving/shipping, maximizing the efficient use of additional warehouse space, acquiring inventory control advice, and safely and fully using the benefits of its new distribution facility.

Fourteen months after the food pantry opened the new warehouse, the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the Dallas area in March 2020. Just as Crossroads Community Services was starting to become comfortable in the new facility, it was faced with a new challenge: unprecedented demand, as the number of daily visits doubled overnight.

Crossroads Community Services representatives asked the provider to help identify operational inefficiencies by finding and analyzing wasted time, space and movement. By leveraging Raymond Lean Management (RLM) principles, Crossroads optimized its order picking process, donation center methods and shopping experience, while increasing the capacity of its new facility.

While using RLM strategies and techniques to process, store and distribute food, the pantry distributed more than 2,750,000 pounds, as the Crossroads Community Services network collectively distributed 11,800,000 pounds of food in 2020.

As an introduction to lean management, the methods are based on the philosophies of reduced waste in pursuit of the most efficient methods—a process that begins with visualization. Visualization strives to ensure a situation is easily understood, merely by looking at it. As a whole, the goal is to obtain as much relevant information as efficiently as possible, while also instilling a culture of continuous improvement throughout an organization.

RLM enabled Crossroads Community Services to identify and implement small enhancements and tweaks in its processes, which led to a tremendous impact on its production and efficiency. In addition, RLM added value to Crossroads Community Services by empowering employees to make improvements and take ownership of the tasks they accomplished daily. By teaching workers to spot inefficiencies or potential errors in their work, lean management provided them with practical tools to share their ideas and develop impactful, long-term solutions.

For Crossroads Community Services, these continuous improvements extended far beyond the warehouse floor, as it identified waste and implemented technology upgrades in other departments, including shipping/receiving and the overall pantry shopping experience.

The RLM training course helped Crossroads Community Services identify areas of improvement to maximize its new warehouse space and improve clients’ shopping experiences.

“RLM has helped across multiple departments,” says Jesse Kramer, client services manager for Crossroads Community Services. “We have streamlined our procedures to free our partners, volunteers and staff [to] do what they do best.”

The Raymond Corporation
(800) 893-2273

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About the Author

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Chris Lewis
Chris Lewis is the owner of Innovative Written Solutions, a content development and editorial services company based in Troy, Mich. In addition to developing content for Modern Materials Handing, he has also written for a wide variety of companies, ranging from Golf Channel to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, as well as industries like engineering, higher education and workforce solutions. He can be reached at lewis.chr[email protected] or
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