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Learning Lean

Always Re-learning Lean Lessons

Once again, I found myself re-learning Lean lessons. This time it was a valuable one about inventory.

Whenever I go to the big warehouse style megastore, they always have great deals. The last ‘great deal’ was on a couple pounds of grape tomatoes. This morning, as I was throwing out the shriveled remains of the last 20 or so little tomato corpses, I wondered how much I really saved per pound, if I amortized the cost of the waste back into the cost of the food I actually ate.

Learning Lean: Inventory Waste

Now, blueberries, on the other hand, get wolfed down in my house. The bulk rate doesn’t force us to buy several weeks worth. Sometimes we even go through the clamshell in a matter of hours. Those little blue guys don’t stand a chance from the moment they hit the fridge.

The message: make sure that cost savings for bulk price breaks are real. Because my family’s usage of blueberries is high, we actually realize the benefit of the lower price. For tomatoes, the spoilage offsets the savings.

At work, if something looks like a great price to buy in bulk, consider all the other costs–things like storage, insurance, damage–before you buy.

Remember—learning Lean never stops. Today’s lesson: You may not really be getting as good of a deal as you think you are.


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