Supermarket Supply Issues


No, I don't buy baby food, but happened to stumble down this aisle at the local grocery store. This picture reminds me of Taiichi Ohno being inspired by the ready availability of goods at an American supermarket and that being the basis of pull systems. In this case, Kroger is squarely blaming Gerbers for a short supply (the shelves looked pretty full to me). I wonder if that was an excuse or reality?

In their new book, Lean Solutions, Womack and Jones claim that the “typical level of service… for individual items on the shelves in the right place is about 92 percent.” This means, for a typical shopping trip of 40 items, you are only 4% likely that all 40 goods will be available and you go home less than satisfied. Is that really true? Shouldn't we expect to see more signs like this? What are your experiences, at the supermarket and the factory?

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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