Supermarket Pull System
A couple of years ago, I was working with a group to create a complex supermarket pull system. The supermarket was centered around a component that was manufactured inside the assembly facility and feed several assembly lines. A timed delivery system was going to be used to deliver components to the each assembly line every two hours. The deliveries were based on the orders the lines placed during the previous two hours. Only four hours worth of components would be stored at the assembly line and the rest would be stored in the centralized supermarket.
Below is a quick presentation I gave to the leadership to help them understand how the system would work. Slides 5 -15 show the specifics for this supermarket delivery system.
This is a specific example of how to use this supermarket system. However, the concept is the same no matter what supermarket you use. There should be:
- Centralized storage location for the components
- A small amount of inventory at the point of use
- A signal to replenish the point of use inventory
- A signal to replenish the supermarket inventory
- Replenishment triggers should be based on lead time to receive inventory from supplier
A well designed supermarket system can be a very powerful tool to help reduce inventory and simplify operations.