St. Bernard Project Says Time Needed to Reconstruct Homes Drops by More Than 50% in Test Projects
Strong Early Progress Follows New CGI Commitment from Toyota in June
September 21, 2011 – New Orleans – The St. Bernard Project (SBP), one of the primary housing recovery organizations in New Orleans, today announced preliminary results of the work it has been doing with Toyota to improve the efficiency of its operations and speed up the pace of post-Katrina rebuilding efforts. 
At the CGI America meeting in Chicago in June, Toyota committed to donate its Toyota Production System expertise to help schools, hospitals and other community organizations improve their operations, extend their reach and increase their impact. The Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC) began this new commitment with the St. Bernard Project. It has worked closely with SBP’s professional staff, skilled construction supervisors and AmeriCorps members since late June to improve the organization’s homebuilding processes.
In just under three months, SBP has realized significant initial improvements using techniques pioneered on Toyota’s assembly lines.
  • Previously, SBP needed 12 to 18 weeks to rebuild a house. With Toyota’s help, SBP finished two test houses in six weeks, an improvement of more than 50%.
  • In addition, re-work (work not done right the first time) is down more than 50%, which is helping to reduce waste, increase efficiency and lower costs.
A short video about the impact of SBP’s partnership with Toyota is available at

SBP CEO and co-founder Zack Rosenburg noted, “Six years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, more than 10,000 hard-working American families have not been able to rebuild the homes that they own. Despite steady progress in rebuilding, homes throughout our communities remain severely damaged, and our waiting list of those needing help continues to grow. While we still have a great deal more to learn from Toyota, the company’s expertise is having an extraordinary impact on our ability to serve this community more quickly and more completely.”
Rosenburg continued, “For those recovering from disasters, time matters. There’s a massive human impact from efficiency and the partnership with Toyota is going to make a significant difference in families’ lives.”
Once additional process improvements are complete, SBP hopes to bring its building model to help communities damaged by more recent natural disasters, such as Joplin, Mo., Tuscaloosa, Ala. and Minot, N.D.
“At Toyota, we judge our success not just on the cars we make, but also on the positive impact we are able to have in local communities nationwide,” said Jamie Bonini, general manager of TSSC. “With so many nonprofits being asked to do more with less, the need to operate with greater efficiency has become even more important.  While there is still much more to accomplish in our joint work with SBP, we are pleased that the techniques of the Toyota Production System are beginning to show early results.”
About St. Bernard Project:
St. Bernard Project (SBP) is an award-winning, nonprofit rebuilding organization whose mission is to remove physical, mental and emotional barriers for vulnerable families, senior citizens and disabled residents who are struggling to recover from the devastation and trauma caused by Hurricane Katrina.  With its innovative, vertically integrated construction system, SBP serves as a model for disaster rebuilding and affordable housing, and effectively reaches the communities most in need.  SBP’s vertically integrated, all-under-one-roof model is also able to tackle one of America’s most pressing issues: affordably building affordable housing. SBP has built or rebuilt nearly 400 houses in the Greater New Orleans area, more than any other housing recovery organization. SBP also creates living wage jobs for veterans in the skilled construction fields, and operates the country’s second VeteransCorps program.
About TSSC:
The Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC) is a not-for-profit corporation, established by and affiliated with Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA).  TSSC provides an array of services to project companies with the overarching theme of retaining a company’s workforce by improving processes to better compete in a global market.  More than 160 companies – including some of North America’s most successful enterprises – have used TSSC’s leadership and training over the years.  TSSC’s 14-person team is comprised of team members from Toyota manufacturing affiliates in North America and from TEMA headquarters in Erlanger, KY.  To learn more about TSSC or inquire about its services, please visit
About Toyota:
Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in North America in 1957 and currently operates 14 manufacturing plants in North America, including one under construction.  There are more than 1,800 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in North America, which sold more than 2 million vehicles in 2010. Toyota directly employs more than 35,000 in North America and its investment here is currently valued at more than $23 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.  Toyota’s annual purchasing of parts, materials, goods and services from North American suppliers totals nearly $25 billion.  In addition, the company has contributed more than half a billion dollars to nonprofits across the U.S. since 1991.

Emilie Tenenbaum, St. Bernard Project, (302) 528-3507, [email protected]
Mike Goss, Toyota, 859-746-6676, [email protected]
Luis Rosero, Toyota, 202-607-9027, [email protected]


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