You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats.' This well-known American proverb is certainly true for the volunteers from two Sourcing Departments in Sassenheim and Amsterdam, Local Services Sassenheim and the Lean 6 Sigma Black Belt project team from Functional Chemicals in Amersfoort when they helped create a better environment for the cats housed at the Animal Shelter Stevenshage in Leiden, the Netherlands.
The 50 year old shelter was already in the process of upgrading their facilities. A helping hand as well as some badly needed financial support would be greatly appreciated as the shelter is largely dependent on volunteering contributions and public funding. It did not take long for our colleagues to decide to roll up their sleeves and, apart from providing more space for the hosted animals, also help create a quality space where animals can feel comfortable and safe and therefore have a better chance to find new homes with caring owners.
A plan of action was made and support from the Community Program was granted. It turned out that with this project the Sassenheim site had reached a real milestone as this was the 100th project. The goal was to provide the cat quarters with 6 beautifully furnished rooms and before actually going to the shelter the volunteers from the various departments already sorted, assembled and pre-painted the cat cubicles which would later on be finished and placed in the newly built area for the cats. The preparations also included assembling the right paint at no cost! Obviously this part was delegated to the Sourcing volunteers. Kris Przesmycki from Sourcing explained: ""Being a paint company, we also used a chance to contribute to the sustainability of our operations. All paint used in this project was recycled thanks to a very good cooperation with Excess Stock employees in Groot Ammers. They were so kind to help us find rejected or returned paint, so that it got a new life within this project rather than being disposed of!""
During 3 days in September the mixed working teams from Sassenheim and Amsterdam went down to the shelter to install and paint the cat cubicles as well as help install the climbing constructions for the cats’ entertainment. Although there was much enthusiasm and dedication, they could not finish all the planned jobs. Their colleagues from the Functional Chemicals Lean 6 Sigma Black Belt team, based in Amersfoort, had heard about their involvement to help give the cats a more comfortable stay at the shelter and volunteered to take over where the original teams had left off. By the end of October they finished the job by assembling the storage boxes and decorating them fitting the new interior.
The project meant a real good example of cross-departmental teamwork. Mathijs Schaft from Local Services Sassenheim said: ""it was good to work on a new place for the Animal Shelter Stevenshage and it was an interesting experience to make a cross-functional department contribution! Although we only had a limited amount of time on our day, we were satisfied with what we achieved and we made a great team effort. We were lucky that most of the boxes were already assembled, so we could show off our painting skills. Everyone enjoyed working together as a team and we were all willing to help each other with different tasks.""
The most grateful ones after this successful team effort are of course the cats. In their new attractive temporary living quarters they can relax and prepare for a new safe home.