Community Feedback

Lean PDX Helps Streamline the RBC Shopping Experience

A streamlining process to improve the shopping experience at the ReBuilding Center (RBC) started with a band of “secret shoppers" made up of five Lean Portland volunteers and five RBC employees. The RBC Executive Director, Stephen Reichard, and Manager, Tom Patzkowski, were working the floor so the staff could work to improve the organization.  The “secret shoppers” were tasked to find materials for typical DIY projects, like building a dog house or replacing an exterior door. This allowed the staff and volunteers to gain a first-hand experience at what it is like to be a customer. 

The second workshop explored long term goals, identifying projects where Lean could consult with the RBC through 2017.  They also designed an experiment to improve customers’ first time shopping experience.  They promptly responded to the things they discovered in their studies and made a mockup kiosk with signage that identifies and explanes how to navigate the warehouses and make a purchases.

They summarized the results:

It was a lot of fun, and we saw about half the people pause and read the sign – some even taking tape measures (a key tool) with them as they went to go shopping. It was a great example of getting real-time feedback on something, without spending a lot of time planning to make it perfect. Our follow-up was that the team decided to continue to get feedback on the kiosk, and possibly create two additional kiosks for the additional entrances.

The next step over the next few months will be to identify opportunities for improving RBC donation and checkout processes. For the long term they would like to develop plans to increase capacity of the center while creating a more satisfying environment for their employees and their guests.

Help us plan our new workshops + classes!

At ReBuilding Center we strive to inspire people to value and discover existing resources to strengthen the social and environmental vitality of communities. From the beautiful, old growth wood milled decades ago to cabinet sets gleaned from historic Portland homes, we would like to generate excitement around the wealth of amazing materials that are available to us in the Pacific Northwest.

We are in the process of resurrecting our ReFind shop where we would like to create a space for sharing ideas, teaching skills, creating a culture of safety and building community. Please let us know any and all of your ideas for this community space and fully equipped wood shop.

help us design our workshops + classes by filling out a 8 question survey!

The ReBuilding Center Tweets!

For quite some time now people have been asking if we can post inventory updates more regularly on our website. Due to the volume of materials we move daily (about 8 tons!) and the frequency of changing inventory (every 15 minutes!) we have been unable to make it a reality. Until now—thanks to a site called Twitter.

Twitter is the latest buzz in social media technologies. Twitter is a social network similar to myspace, facebook and many blogging platforms (such as blogger) that allows individuals to post quick updates (called “tweets”) for friends and followers to read.

We are experimenting with Twitter as a means to let you know what’s going on in the warehouse. We will post a sampling of new inventory as it comes through the doors as well as reduced prices on materials. As of now, these “tweets” will not include photographs, but you can always get your graphic fill from “Today’s Finds”—our twice monthly newsletter.

To receive The ReBuilding Center’s “tweets” you will first have to join the Twitter community by visiting their website and creating an account. After that you can search for “The ReBuilding Center” with Twitter’s “Find People” tool. Then, all you have to do is click “Follow” to receive a happy stream of updates fresh from the warehouse.

We appreciate your feedback on how best we can utilize this new tool and thank you for your patience as we try the course. Questions? Email or call us at 503-542-5051!

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