Manufacturers of certain products usually manage inventory levels and determine production quantities using what is called a pull system. It is a customer demand system that builds as many items as and when they are wanted. This system helps reduce extra inventory, waste, and streamline operations within the plant. As useful as they are on a larger scale, they can also be utilized within a typical household to effectively manage grocery shopping.
How to implement a grocery pull system
Lead-time and order quantity are two of the most essential concepts in any pull system. Lead-time is the time required to make or receive a product. In terms of groceries, it can be the frequency of shopping trips: whether once a week or once a month. On the other hand, order quantity is the minimum amount of inventory needed on hand before an order—also known as a pull—is made. When it comes to groceries, it is the amount needed before the next shopping trip. These amounts can differ depending on certain factors such as the number of people in the household. A family of four may need a lot more than someone who lives alone. Arriving at the order quantity can be done through trial and error methods to prevent running short of some products and the spoilage of other products in the long run.
Applying the pull system is so simple that it can be implemented almost immediately. Once a product reaches the order quantity level, add it to the shopping list. For example, a family can finish one jar of peanut butter every 3 weeks. Once the current jar of peanut butter is out, the second jar of peanut butter should be pulled out while adding “peanut butter” to the shopping list. Instead of running to the store for one item that has run out, the peanut butter can be purchased on the next planned shopping trip in time before the last jar runs out. Peanut butter is then added to the list when the next jar is pulled from inventory.
Save money on groceries
Fruits, vegetables and other perishable goods may be purchased more frequently. This is why high use or high spoilage items usually determine the lead time, while all other items can be added to the list as they are used. The pull system is also applicable to sundries such as toiletries, laundry detergent, paper products, and other items that are consumed and purchased repeatedly. Savings can be maximized further by using coupons on products that are really needed.
Managing grocery lists with a pull system comes with many benefits. It’s easy to start, customisable for any household, and helpful in reducing last-minute trips to the store. The inventory in the house is lessened as well, so there is less room for spoilage. Lastly, spending is reduced because items are purchased only when they are needed, instead of being stockpiled. These lean manufacturing techniques can make any household as efficient as an industrial engineer streamlining a business. Start using the pull system today. Give us a call on 02895-320646 to be guided every step of the way.