Establish Pull In Your Office To Save Money, Avoid Shortages Of Supplies, and Set An Example

Posted by on Nov 1, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Many offices use pull already but just aren’t aware of it.  Nobody knows exactly how many pencils, pens, reams of paper, and toner will be used in the office.  If there were a scheduled, standing order of all these things, you would guess correctly in some cases, have too much in others, and run out of some critical items.  In a well-ran office, somebody is designated to keep the supply room stocked by looking and seeing what has been used and reordering those items.

Another, more lean way of stocking the supply room is to use a kanban system.  Using this system, there are little, laminated kanban cards that say when an item should be triggered for reorder.

General Motors used this system in one of their Technical Offices and in their case, the kanban system for supplies is very formal and they rarely run out of anything.  There is a place for everything and everything is in its place in the supply room and on desks.

An example of how it works in their storage area for supplies is when an item reaches a certain level, the kanban for that item is put into a small bin.  The kanban cards are collected daily and orders are placed for those items.  This ensures that they never run out of needed items.  In their break room, they used to have a conventional refrigerator for soft drinks and some drinks were always overstocked while others ran out.  Since you couldn’t see through the door, it was easy to hide the mess inside.  So they bought a machine with a glass front to allow them to easily see the state of the soft drink supplies.  When a soft drink gets to a certain level, the kanban for that drink is placed in another small bin so it will get reordered.

Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking this is overkill and a rather elaborate system to maintain.  You might even consider doing a cost-benefit analysis to decide if it is a good use of time.  But that is the traditional mass-production thinking we want to avoid.  The benefits go well beyond the pennies saved.  Implementing this kanban system is likely to intrigue your office workers and get them interested in improving the flow in their core work.  Waste in the office is generally much greater than in the factory.  A little creative effort to improve your processes will have huge multiplier effects.


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