Theory and Practice of Supermarkets – Part 1

Supermarket in Brazil
All about supermarkets…

Kanban, FiFo lanes, and supermarkets are the backbone of many pull system. Some people even define lean production through its use of kanban and supermarkets. Yet why are supermarkets so useful? First we will look at what exactly makes an inventory into an supermarket. My next post will then give tips and hints on the practical use of supermarkets on the shop floor.

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Top Five Cases When NOT to Use a FiFo

FiFo LaneStandard wisdom for creating a good material flow is to use FiFo lanes (First in, First out). In other words, the first part that goes into the line should also be the first part that comes back out. As such, FiFo lanes and its big brother, Supermarket, are essential for any lean material flow. However, some rules of wisdom can be bent and others can be broken. Here are the  top five cases when NOT to use a FiFo lane.

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Determining the Size of Your FiFo Lane – The FiFo Formula

FiFo Lanes
How long should it be?

FiFo lanes are an important tool to establish a pull system. They are often combined with kanban. However, while there is a lot of information on how to calculate the number of kanban (the Kanban Formula), there is very little information available on how large a FiFo should be. In my last post I talked about why we need FiFo lanes. In this post I want to discuss how large a FiFo should be. 

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Theory and Practice on FiFo Lanes – How Does FiFo Work in Lean Manufacturing?

FiFo LaneFiFo lanes are an important part of any lean material flow. They are a very simple way to define both the material flow and the information flow. In this post I want to tell you why to use FiFo, how to use FiFo, and the advantages of FiFo, as well as show you a few examples of FiFo lanes.

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The Hidden and not-so-hidden costs of Inventory

Gold Bullion Missing
1/3rd to 2/3rd gone every year!

Inventory is one of the seven types of waste. There is usually quite a significant cost associated with having inventory, usually much more than what traditional bookkeeping accounts for. Between 30% and 65% of the value of your inventory is spent every year as inventory-related costs! This post looks into more detail at the cost of this inventory.

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Ten Rules When to Use a FIFO, When a Supermarket – The Rules

Information Loop
FIFO vs. Supermarket

Lean manufacturing pull systems use both FIFO lanes and supermarkets to manage the material and information flow. In my previous post we covered the basics about supermarket and FIFO lanes. Now we go into details about the ten rules when to use a supermarket instead of a FIFO.

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Ten Rules When to Use a FIFO, When a Supermarket – Introduction

Information Loop
FIFO vs. Supermarket

It is generally accepted knowledge that a lean manufacturing pull system uses both FIFO lanes and supermarkets to manage the material and information flow. However, there are few guidelines on when to use a supermarket and when to use a FIFO lane. This post is the first of a two-part series that will give ten general rules of thumb for when to use a supermarket instead of a  FIFO lane. The second post will go into more detail about the ten rules.

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