Lean supermarket is the strategy which can be executed as a conjunction between different stages while plotting value stream mapping.

Indeed, if one wants to see lean concepts at work than shopping is one of the best places to view that. This is for the reason that a huge segment of the lean foundation was derived from American supermarkets. In 1965, when father of the Toyota Production System “Taiichi Ohno” visited an American supermarket, he observed and decided this is the way in which he wanted his factories to look and work. During the year 1953 in the machine shop of its central plant in Toyota City, Toyota established its initial lean supermarket.

There is no doubt that in present era flexibility plays a huge role in manufacturing and it is also the reason why many of the lean tools like lean supermarket are considered very imperative for their value-driven advantages in manufacturing. The lean supermarket is a mobile FIFO system that evidently offers the materials used and shows stock levels visually indicating need to restock. It works a bit like a usual supermarket as we are familiar with it when we go for shopping. All items are located on small shelves that are visibly noticeable with marking, and when a predefined stock level has been attained it is refilled. By simply being capable to adjust what is kept in it derived from our needs in production we can achieve flexibility. More to the point, making them mobile presents the benefit to shift them as required when production varies.

A very good example to explain how the lean supermarket works is of a vending machine. As we can see that the amount of slots a product acquires is founded on consumption, like a famous product could get a hold of three slots and the unpopular can get just one slot. Consequently, it decreases the unsafe possibility of lost sales caused by a product running out between fillings.

Benefits of Lean Supermarket

Lean supermarket is an effective method when your business inherent broad range of difference in customer demand, or when the manufacturing lead-time usually goes beyond the required lead-time of both internal and external customer.

Furthermore, to line up production capacity with customer demand is the basic ingredient for an effective and efficient manufacturing process. Regardless of the fact we run a usual work shop or produce repetitive parts, by implementing a supermarket model to handle our flow of work we can benefit a lot. A number of people believe that effective production is about having nil level of inventory; nevertheless actually it is about owning the accurate amount of stock for our form of business. There is a need of outstanding flexibility for a made-to-order zero inventory strategy which can be too expensive. On the other hand, in order to satisfy customers in an economical way, a right-size stock strategy can facilitate as well.

In order to ensure that the exact quantity of product is readily available and to avoid having surplus product and losing it by running past its due date, the inventory systems are handled with great care in supermarkets. This struggle to maintain stock moving before the expiration date compels supermarkets to watch their inventory more carefully than lots of factories and forms an efficient system to control this inventory. Forming manual moveable containers like a lean supermarket can substitute forklifts and get rid of loads of heavy inventory. The form of lean waste supermarkets are useful in improving is decreased transport; this is achieved by having a direct network with the manufacturing line with the alternative to move them nearer to the line or unit where they are employed.

Self-checkout is an additional great case of lean at work. It has made purchasing so effortless that a lot of people have a preference for this faster method. Give it some thought; supermarkets have smoothed the self-checkout method to the extent where customers choose to do a task themselves that the supermarket was previously required to pay a number of employees to complete. It was impossible to introduce supermarkets if the self-checkout process was not easy. Nowadays by means of a visual system customers can browse pictures of the product that they want to purchase with a simple two to three clicks on a screen.