Hilltop Bottle & Can Partners with RIT to Improve Productivity


Hilltop Bottle & Can Return is a redemption center owned and operated by The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Counties. The business is unique in that it helps people with intellectual/developmental disabilities find success in employment.

"FuzeHub was an excellent company to work with. They were extremely helpful and accommodating to the challenges we were facing and were just as determined to help pass our obstacles as we were. Upon closing this project, they were open to suggestions for other businesses as well. They’re truly here to make a difference and we’re thankful for the help they provided."
Eric Carson
Business Services Manager

The Challenge

The team at The Arc was looking to improve Hilltop Bottle’s overall productivity and efficiency.

The Solution

The organization applied to FuzeHub for an Innovation Challenge Award and won $5,900. It partnered with a team of engineering students from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), who learned the operation, performed time studies and evaluated the physical setup of the redemption facility to determine which areas needed to be prioritized for improvement. The students recommended electronic counters, as every container was counted manually which was a large labor cost depending on operator speeds. They also blueprinted a more efficient setup — which reduced travel time within the facility — and assigned wheeled carts within each workstation for easy movement. The prize money helped cover the cost of the electronics and wiring to install counters at each box throughout seven workstations. Hilltop also built frames around all of its sorting boxes.

Outcomes / The Impact

The project enabled Hilltop to retain its workers. More importantly, it created a much more productive shift for every employee. The overall processing of containers essentially went from a four-step process to a two-step process. With the new setup, employees were able to increase sort speed by close to 50% depending on the worker.

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