Back in 2007, I published a post about the disparity in pricing for blue plastic bins that are often used for Lean “5S” practices or just for general shelf storage.
In 2007, the SAME plastic bin was $4.55 in the Grainger industrial catalog, but it was a whopping $13 in a hospital lab equipment catalog.
I received this same company’s lab catalog in the mail the other day. We can see inflation from 2007 and a growing price disparity for bins of the exact same material and dimensions.
Grainger = $7.04
Lab Catalog = $17
I swear, if you held these two bins side by side, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference because they are the exact same bin made by the exact same manufacturer, Akro-Mils.
To hospitals… please stop throwing money away through uninformed purchasing. Don’t get ripped off by vendors who want to charge you more because you are in healthcare. Grainger will get an account for your hospital, if you don’t already have one. I’ve helped many hospital clients get signed up with Grainger to order online or go buy from a local store/warehouse (Grainger does not sell to consumers directly).
You can probably also find better prices out there from different online 5S vendors. In 2007, 5Sstore.com was offering the same bin for just $3.38.
If you’re buying hundreds of these bins, that’s a huge opportunity for improvement – getting a lower price for the same thing.
Other stores today:
- 5Sstore.com (a former sponsor)
- 5S Supply (also a former sponsor)
- 5S Today (current sponsor via Creative Safety Supply)
Who can find the best price?
About 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 Chief Improvement Officer for the technology company KaiNexus.