Ending the Home Kanban System (For This Home, At Least)

Drawing down our inventory...

As I lighten my workload a bit during my “Blog Break” in preparation for my family’s move to San Antonio, I thought new readers might want to check out my post from 2008 titled “A Home Kanban System – Toilet Paper & Paper Towels.” Do you utilize kanban at home?

Since we’re moving, I’m no longer buying a second huge warehouse club pack when we are down to one pack remaining. I’m buying smaller quantities so that there’s a reasonable amount of toilet paper in the house for the new owners, but without having tons of inventory. This is the equivalent to what a factory would call an “end of life” situation for a product… in this case, the end of the house’s life for us  — on to a new house, where I’ll establish a new kanban system that’s appropriate to the size of the new place and the proximity to stores. See this comment about how we had modified the system for a small Boston apartment.

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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2 Comments on "Ending the Home Kanban System (For This Home, At Least)"

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  1. Andy Wagner says:

    I’ve never understood having two huge packs. I think a max-min system works better than a two-bin. Our “signal” to refill on those items is when we throw away the wrapping for the big package and only have the last back-up–which is still 4 rolls of toilet paper–more than enough to carry you to the next Costco run.

    • Mark Graban

      I see what you’re saying and it could definitely work that way.

      With work travel and busy schedules, we sometimes delay our Costco run for a few weeks. We have the space in our garage and paper products aren’t that expensive, so I’m erring waaaay on the side of not running out rather than trying to absolutely minimize inventory.

      I also use “two bin” on items where it’s somewhat tough to tell when a single container is running low (particularly a can of shaving cream).

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