Situation: A large nationwide bank refreshed seating and other furnishings at hundreds of branches from western Pennsylvania and Maryland north to Massachusetts.
Material Composition & Quantity: Over 16,000 pieces, including about 12,000 office chairs, 1,300 sofas and lounge chairs, 2,300 stools, and other items.
Setting: The pieces were consolidated by installers at ten warehouse locations in MD, PA, NJ, NY, CT, RI, and MA, from which they were loaded and shipped to IRN charitable partners.
A major U.S. bank purchased some 20,000 pieces of new Steelcase seating and other furnishings, as part of an upgrade of more than 700 branches in eight Northeastern states. Consistent with its sustainability practices, the bank required Steelcase and lead dealer Red Thread (www.red-thread.com) to offer a reuse or recycling solution for the furnishings that were being replaced. Having worked with IRN on several past projects, Red Thread requested IRN’s assistance.
The replacements were scheduled over three months from mid-August through early November. Red Thread personnel handled the installations in Red Thread’s core service territory (MA, CT, RI), and Red Thread hired several different moving companies to cover locations outside of this area. With Red Thread, IRN developed a logistics plan that had movers return the used furnishings to ten warehouses covering the project geography. As returned furnishings accumulated, IRN scheduled tractor trailers to arrive at the warehouses, where they were filled and shipped to IRN-designated charities.
IRN provided webinar training and prepared supply packages for the crew leaders at each location, including loading instructions, paperwork, and customs seals where needed. IRN staff were on call at all times when a load was being filled at any of the project sites.
In all, the project filled 59 trailers with nearly 16,300 items. Filling one to three trailers per day per location at up to four locations per day, the project engaged crews on 54 separate load dates, ranging from one to sixteen dates per location.
Keys to Success
Coordination With ten locations, six different load crews, sixty trailers, eight trucking companies, 37 project dates spread over nearly three months, and as many as four locations active on any given day, IRN’s ability to coordination, schedule, and manage this volume of activity were the most important factors to project success.
IRN’s Network of Charities. This project yielded a flood of similar product in a short period – too much for any one IRN charity to absorb. Ultimately, IRN matched the inventory with six different charities, and the product was shipped to recipients in Guatemala, El Salvador, Jamaica, Ghana, Korea, and New York State.
Training and Communications. The project relied on many different organizations and individuals to meet inbound trailers, load and pack to IRN and charity specifications, and fulfill shipping and customs requirements. IRN developed webinar training and a simple instruction package for local managers, followed up with direction communications in advance of each loading event, and provided real-time backup for each of the onsite managers.
Information Management. IRN’s in-house project management software provided easy and immediate access to all of the logistics and contact information essential to the project. With a few keystrokes, IRN was also able to provide a separate conclusion report for each location, including the quantity, composition and destination of material shipped by date and location.