CIRAS Helps Goodwill Assemblers Get More Efficient

One of the manufacturing arms of a Cedar Rapids job-training agency increased revenue by $675 per day after CIRAS helped make one of its assembly lines more efficient.

Tom Cavanagh, production manager for Goodwill of the Heartland, said he sought help from CIRAS last summer out of concern that Goodwill wouldn’t be able to meet its commitments on its factory
line assembling doors for ice makers. The line is just one of the production businesses that Goodwill maintains as a job-training program. But work became more complicated after the social distancing requirements of COVID-19.

“We were proactive,” Cavanagh said. “Had we done nothing, it’s likely that our customer would not have been satisfied.”

Recognizing the need, CIRAS project manager Adam Boesenberg
matched Goodwill of the Heartland with the Iowa Quality Center,
which evaluated each step of Goodwill’s production process. The experts, noticing that some workers had to occasionally wait for others on the line to catch up, suggested reassigning tasks to balance
the load with fewer people.

It worked, Cavanagh said. “And we were able to divert workforce from that production line to other areas where we were struggling to keep up.”

With fewer people working on ice-maker doors, remaining workers became more efficient—and better able to maintain their social distancing. Goodwill estimates that the project, which was supported by funding from the federal CARES Act, has improved its business by roughly $150,000 in increased sales and reduced costs.

“We’re much better for calling CIRAS—now and in
the long run,” Cavanagh said.

For more information, contact Adam
Boesenberg at and