State Schools’ Relief (SSR) was founded in 1930 during the Great Depression by Anton Vroland, a Head Teacher from Elsternwick State School. Today, State Schools’ Relief is a not for profit charity that supports the needs of disadvantaged government school students by assisting them with new school uniforms, footwear and educational resources at a time of vulnerability.
Providing new shoes and uniforms to a child experiencing extreme disadvantage provides considerable benefit. The simple and practical service ensures that students in Victoria can attend school in warmth and comfort with a greater sense of belonging and self-esteem; enhancing their educational prospects and opportunities for connecting with their school community.
Prior to 2015, State Schools’ Relief typically supported around 10,000 applications for assistance per year out their small office in Bentleigh. In 2015, changes to the government support framework resulted in a drastic increase in demand. State Schools’ Relief were granted funding to help expand operations from the Bentleigh ‘milkbar’ into a fit-for-purpose warehouse in Dandenong South.
Recognising that the new warehouse alone would not form the entire solution to meeting the increasing community need, they reached out through South Eastern Business Networks (SEBN), and Toyota offered assistance.
For State School’s Relief, every order is a student. To fulfill an order, staff must complete a wide range of tasks on time, and to a high level of quality. Risks involve incorrect or missing deliveries of requested uniforms, but the real impact is a student whose education suffers due to feeling isolated or vulnerable amongst their peers.
SSR’s challenge was not only to establish a system where volunteers and employees can quickly and correctly fulfill orders, but to do this in a new facility and in an environment of increasing demand.
In 2015, SSR supported around 12,000 applications for assistance. By 2017, demand had increased to almost 50,000 applications.
With the help of the Toyota Production System, the team at SSR was not only able to meet the drastic increase in demand, but also increase volunteer pick and pack productivity by over 200%, supporting more students in need.