United Techs Team Up to Improve Houston Food Bank Warehouse - United Hub

Techs team up to improve Houston Food Bank warehouse

By The Hub team

A delegation of technicians from our Airframe Overhaul and Repair team were among the 100 or so employees who took part in the United Day activities in mid-September at the Houston Food Bank. And, being technicians, they came away from the experience with more than the satisfaction of having volunteered; they decided to apply their skills to improving the food bank's warehouse and associated systems.

"Our job that day was to move pallets," said Kim McLerran, airframe operations manager at Houston Intercontinental. "In doing so, it became pretty clear to us that we could improve the way items are stored and moved, making the processes safer and more efficient, and the Food Bank representatives said they would welcome the assistance."

The team determined that one of the features of the warehouse that was slowing them down was the metal roller racks in the floors. Our team removed the roller racks, which actually increased the time needed to move one pallet as much as fivefold compared to using pallet jacks. Not to mention, the roller racks posed a safety concern for unescorted people, particularly children, if they wandered into the warehouse area.

In addition to removing the roller racks, our Airframe team also painted a safe zone between the packing area and pallet loading area, where a door opens automatically. In that area, if people came through without paying attention, could walk right into the path of a trolley. The team also installed guides on the tracks for the trolleys in the sorting area. Before that, the trolleys were not always lining up correctly, and they could hit posts as they moved down the rail.

"Your contribution has made it easier for our volunteers to be able to move a larger number of boxes," said Leslie Tarango, corporate volunteer recruiter for the Houston Food Bank, "…we have almost doubled our productivity. That turns into more hungry people being fed!"

The Houston Food Bank is the nation's largest and distributes 122 million nutritious meals through its network of 1,500 community partners in southeast Texas, feeding 800,000 individuals each year.

The Houston Food Bank's School Markets program was the recipient of a $1 million grant we announced earlier this summer as part of our Critical Needs Grants program, an $8 million investment we committed to organizations across our hub markets.

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