In my personal experience there is nothing new about what community bike shops do.  All those "ah-ha!" moments are usually when someone has (un)intentionally applied an existing concept from another application/industry to their community bike shop.  So save yourself the trouble and time of reinventing the wheel by actively trying to identify those concepts in the first place.  

Our current Executive Director (Davey Davis) hit it on nose when he claimed that "this isn't a shop, it is a factory" at least in terms of operations management (

While I spent years in that shop, I failed to see it.  Davey is a genius.  But the fact is, broken bicycles are the raw material that we refine (in mass quantity) into a consumable product that is sold/re-donated.  The more successful Community Bike Shops (that help the most people) are the ones that make that refurbishing process as efficient as possible.

Efficiency happens when you increase the number of bicycles that go through the shop, while decreasing waste and the time it takes to for the average bike to go in and out the shop's door.  A sign that you have an efficiency problem are excess storage.  Especially if they are stored for more than one "busy season".  Given that some shops are in seasonal weather, obviously things might stack up in the winter.  Accordingly, each shop will have a different averages and goals. 

So, what the hell am I rambling on about?

If you don't track the bikes (dates, times and stages), it is hard to know how to improve.

If you are looking for a quick / fun / easy / socratic / fictional tale to get inspired on how operations management might help your shop achieve its mission, consider reading the, "The Goal."


Jonathan Morrison
c: 801-688-0183

On Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 7:45 AM, Nathan Wilkes <> wrote:
I was thinking a simple numbered ID.


On Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 3:42 PM, Jonathan Morrison <> wrote:
What kind of solution are you looking into?


Jonathan Morrison
c: 801-688-0183

On Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 3:33 PM, jonny b <> wrote:
Hi Friends,

Do any shops have examples of tags that they use to track who donated  bikes, who's worked on the bikes, bike's state of repair, etc?  We're working on creating something simple and effective to facilitate donor recognition as well as getting bikes effectively prepared and sorted for our youth programs.


John Barrett
The Good Life Community Bicycle Shop / Two Wheel View / Barrett's Organic Berries / /


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