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

by Mark Graban on April 4, 2012 · 2 comments

IMG 2364 225x300 Ending the Home Kanban System (For This Home, At Least) lean

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.


Mark Graban 2011 Smaller Ending the Home Kanban System (For This Home, At Least) leanAbout LeanBlog.org: Mark Graban is a consultant, author, and speaker in the “lean healthcare” methodology. Mark is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as the new Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. Mark is also the VP of Innovation and Improvement Services for KaiNexus.


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andy Wagner April 4, 2012 at 9:04 am

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.

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2 Mark Graban
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April 4, 2012 at 9:08 am

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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