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Does your Grocery Store Limit Work in Progress?

by Mark Levison, 5 May 2011 | Lean Development

This post is from Agile Pain Relief » Blog by Mark Levison. Click here to see the original post in full.

Shopping in our local Grocery Store (Farm Boy) on a recent Saturday made me realize what a good job they do Limiting Work in Progress (WIP) and Self Organizing. Driving into the parking lot with my 4yr old, I was dreading the busyness of the store. When I got in the place was packed, trying to manoeuvre even a small cart with a 4yr old driving was quite the experience. I had expected to the checkout experience to be easily 10 minutes long, an eternity even with the best behaved child.

When I entered the store there were only a few people on cash and the lines seemed to be building, by the time we were ready to checkout half an hour later all 9 cashes were open and we waited less than two minutes.

What happened? A couple of conversations with cashiers have helped me piece together the key points: