The power of teamwork

By Tatiana Peralta 10/21/2020
Teamwork with Access Solutions

SourceAmerica® values teamwork, uniting individuals and organizations committed to increasing economic and social inclusion for people with disabilities. By collaborating with teammates, key stakeholders, and the nonprofit agencies within the SourceAmerica network, more people with disabilities are connected to meaningful employment opportunities.  

Since 2012, SourceAmerica has partnered with Access Business Solutions in New York to elevate and improve work processes for people with disabilities. In turn, Access Business Solutions has increased wages and created new jobs for people with disabilities, while delivering high quality products and services for their customers. This long-standing partnership between the two organizations highlights our shared mission of employing people with disabilities.  

Prior to COVID-19, Access Business Solutions contacted the SourceAmerica Workforce Development team to find a solution that would increase productivity on their AbilityOne® Program contract, one of the largest sources of employment in the United States for people who are blind or have significant disabilities. This particular contract requires people with disabilities to make staplers for a federal customer. The main challenge stemmed from the fact that each employee made one stapler from start to finish. The process was not only time consuming, but frustrating for the employees due to the amount of time it took to manufacture each stapler.  

Working as a team for better solutions  

A group of SourceAmerica Productivity Engineers within the Workforce Development team was tasked with coming up with a way to increase efficiency in the workplace. The high-level solution to aid in the production of the staplers was to create a flow line so employees could team up and share tasks. This supports the concept of team productivity, allowing each person to specialize on a specific task while supporting the overall development of the product.  

Since the concept of a flow line was a new process, it required the supervisor to more closely manage teams directly. Once each group was provided training, productivity improved quickly. Several people found a personal niche in the flow line, giving them satisfaction in their own work. For some, productivity increased by 100% to 115%. As a result, Access Business Solutions was able to raise wages for nine employees on that contract. Additionally, the individuals learned about the value of teamwork.  

This project is just one of the many successes SourceAmerica and Access Business Solutions share. In the last eight years, the organizations have worked together to implement productivity improvement processes for several additional projects, including earplug manufacturing and packaging, stencil production, and more. Access Business Solutions is looking forward to welcoming the Productivity Engineering team back for virtual visits to improve other processes across their operations.  

“Every opportunity I get to have the SourceAmerica Productivity Engineering Team here, I take,” said Bill Brown of Access Business Solutions.  

Recipe for success  

The key ingredient in the recipe for successful teamwork is the willingness both organizations have in keeping an open mind and listening to one another. By working together, SourceAmerica and Access Business Solutions have figured out the ultimate solution –which is great news for the people with disabilities on these contracts.  

“We continue to be impressed with the work of the SourceAmerica Productivity Engineering team. They never seem intimidated by any challenge,” said Ronald Colavito, CEO of Access Business Solutions. “The SourceAmerica Productivity Engineering team is friendly and approachable to everyone they meet. Now when the employees hear that they are coming, they are eager and motivated to get to work.” 

The engineers have become part of the Access Businesses Solutions family and are a valued resource to the organization. As they add new lines of business, they hope to continue utilizing SourceAmerica Productivity Engineers to maximize efficiency.  

This collaboration is truly a win-win for all parties involved.  

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