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The supermarket is a storage area in which the staff use to produce. It finds the parts it needs, when it needs it and the quantity you want.


The supermarket is a storage area in which the staff use to produce. It finds the parts it needs, when it needs it and the quantity you want. The setting up of a supermarket allows to thin the flow and is necessary in 3 cases:

  • 2 processes one after the other have different cadences. We will put a supermarket to facilitate regulation.
  • A process serves several other processes. A supermarket will be put in place to allow the downstream process to freely use the products without having to manage priorities with other workstation.
  • from different constraints (distance…), two processes that follow can not be served as Part-by-Part but batch by batch. We’ll put a supermarket to build these lots.


The supermarket belongs to the upstream process, the one that fills it. It adjusts its deliveries according to the consumption and the rules of operation (Kanban, Periodic Supplement, Visual Management….). Its operation is as follows:

  1. The upstream workstation produces
  2. As and according to the ” orders “, it fills the supermarket
  3. The downstream workstationconsumes parts freely by using in the supermarket

Design Rules

  • Parts references are on fixed locations.
  • Access to take them is simple and does not require handling assistance. This involves human size heights and containers complying with the ergonomic transport rules.
  • The supermarket is installed at the nearest point of consumption.
  • It must be visually designed: the locations, the minimum and maximum storage level, and the consumption levels are visible at a glance.
  • It must be able to guarantee the FIFO.
  • Sizing provides for 20% capacity reserve to allow for changes in customer needs.

The types of supermarkets

Dynamic storage

These are ” Shelveson which one comes to position the parts bins.  We fill on one side, then we consume the other. This is the optimal solution for small rooms where one consumes box per box.

Specifically, they can be conceived with the following elements:

  • They are mounted on wheels to facilitate the redevelopment of the zones.
  • Each ” shelf ” is slightly sloping and designed with roller rails to use free energy, gravity

Flat storage

On the ground, guide rails are fixed. On these rails, there are trolleys with rollers on which are superimposed boxes of parts.

This system is particularly used when consumption is important and we have a Mizusumashi That takes several wagons to deliver the workstation.


J. Womack, D. T. Jones (2003) – Lean system

J. Gramdi (2013) – The virtuous loop of Excellence

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