Pre-sort = Your Just-In-Time System (Part 2 of 4)

Our previous post discussed the first step in a pre-sort process: removing the trash from the treasure. The reasons are numerous. Without a pre-sort system, many valuable items can be left in bags with trash for days, if not weeks. A pre-sort process minimizes damage since fragile items can be quickly shown needed care in this first touch. Pre-sort separates good from bad and categorizes remaining products to make the pricing system more streamlined. Pre-sort is the first but not the last decision on whether the item is worthy of a position on the sales floor.

The pre-sort system follows a methodology abbreviated as TBS, for Toss, Bale (Recycle) or Sell. TBS simplifies the decision, giving each independent item one of three primary destinations. These destinations, like all product staging areas, should be on mobile material handling equipment (e.g., gaylords on pallets, carts), never on the ground. Each destination is arranged in close proximity to the pre-sort operation and should be further broken down into subcategories, as noted below.

  • Trash — These items were identified in the previous post. Once identified, they can easily be transferred to the dumpster.
  • Bale (Recycle) — For textiles that do not fit the into the smelly or totally worn out categories yet still not worthy of rack space, these items can be set aside to be baled. For metal, electronics or other categories currently being sold or provided to recycle companies, these items can be separated into appropriate categories. Often the domain of a wholesale operation, these items can be handed off from your processing team so they can focus on the remaining sellable items.
  • Sell — These items are destined for your retail floor. Sellable textiles should be categorized together, separated from sellable miscellaneous items. In passing this test, these items continue on to your pricing team where a dollar-denonimated value is determined.

Again, the earlier your operation disposes of products with no value, the more efficient, effective and profitable it will be.

Next, we’ll address the issues of why does this not happen in many thrift operations. And we’ll provide suggestions on how to remove these impediments in the throughput model.

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