At the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), we have the privilege of partnering with thousands of school districts across the country to bring transformative STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programming to their students. An essential component to ensuring that our district partners receive all the materials they need, exactly when they need them, is the recently renovated 75,000-square-foot warehouse at our headquarters in North Canton, Ohio. Read on to learn five reasons our warehouse has allowed us to become a reliable partner that educators can count on, year after year.
1. The Ability to Adapt at a Moment’s Notice
Having our own warehouse allows us to quickly adjust to changes in the market. When the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, we were able to pivot, and both develop and deliver brand-new products and programs to meet the needs of our district partners. Taking a product typically shipped in bulk to individual schools, and adapting it to allow for individual shipping to participants’ homes, gave districts the ability to run our programming and maintain their summer learning strategies.
2. World-Class Quality Assurance
Our warehouse utilizes Lean Six Sigma, a set of techniques and tools that enables continuous improvement, and all employees undergo regular training to maintain high levels of accuracy. We also have a full-time staff focused exclusively on quality, managing the inspection and testing of incoming raw materials, as well as in-process and finished products. Because we personally check our materials to ensure their quality and functionality, participants and district partners alike can expect a problem- and stress-free experience. During the summer of 2021, our commitment to quality assurance earned us a 5.4 sigma level, which equates to an impressive 45 defects per 1 million opportunities.
3. Customized Packaging
Operating our own warehouse allows us to staff full-time employees who are invested in our programs and involved in the entire process, from new product development to delivery. Our team is committed to carefully custom-packing products in either Class or Individual Sets, based on each district’s unique requirements. Additionally, having accessible materials allows our sales and education teams to become well acquainted with all aspects of our programming, which in turn strengthens our customer service and support that we can provide our district partners.
4. Dependable Access to Program Materials
Our sizable warehouse allows us to place large purchase orders with our suppliers and keep in stock substantial quantities of all the materials used in our education programs. This helps make it possible for us to mitigate worldwide supply chain challenges to efficiently meet our partners’ needs.
5. Continuous Improvement
In our warehouse operations and throughout our organization, we are committed to continuous improvement fueled by embracing the Innovation Mindset™. As we prioritize innovation and creative problem solving, we are always seeking and enacting methods and strategies to ensure even greater quality assurance and reliability to support our district partners. Informed by the feedback of educators, we have redesigned our packaging to allow for daily material kits, created an improved labeling system and continue to source materials that engage students’ imaginations.
Learn More About Our Education Programs
We invite you to visit our website for a behind-the-scenes look at our customized STEM programming.