A Well Oiled Machine

This week will be reports and pictures from the Better World Books Warehouse (or “Green House” as we know it) in South Bend as we conduct our yearly meeting week.

To see a well-oiled machine do its job is truly a marvel.  It sounds cliche, perhaps it sounds like a vacuous statement when were so inundated with machinery and technology in our own lives from iPhones to disposals to a little hot water in the shower, but the fact remains that there’s something about a fine tuned apparatus that catches the eye and the imagination.

The Green House presented two great versions of this to me today.  On one hand, I saw the packaging machine, which is pretty mesmerizing.  It takes thousands of orders each day and cranks them out under the careful supervision of a number of finely trained employees.  It’s definitely a unique sight (that I’ve included below for your enjoyment).

But more amazing is how we’ve created a system incorporating ideas from Toyota’s and Motorola’s plants referred to in the business world as “Six Sigma.”  I won’t get into the specifics but I have to say watching the whole warehouse work is amazing.  Hundreds of people working as the proverbial bees in the hive–and let me tell you the Green House buzzes–each with individual tasks all working together to get you your books, as fas as possible, as cheap as we can and in the best condition that we can offer.


West Coast Director, Natasha Harris, looking regal as per usual

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