Have you taken a look at your kitchen pantry and cupboards lately? I mean besides looking longingly for something to eat, and realizing nothing looks too appetizing… even though the shelves are full. If you’re like most of us there are cans and boxes of foodstuffs that have been taking up space in your kitchen for years. At the same time how much time is wasted going to the store virtually every day to pick up that one missing ingredient?
There are several reasons for this waste of space and money. Some of us aren’t very disciplined about making a meal plan, creating a list, and buying only what is necessary for the upcoming week. Many of us buy some items thinking we might be able to turn them into a meal… some day. And a few of us, presumably not regular readers of this blog, still buy vast amounts of food that will last several months or longer, just to save a couple bucks. Tieing up cash and space in products… raw material if you may… that is at least somewhat perishable or subject to changes in taste… demand.
How lean is that? Not very.
But leave it to Amazon to create at least a partial solution. They recently announced Amazon Grocery. which lets you order any of over 22,000 non-perishable products and have them shipped to you. Two-day shipping is free for the multitude among us that already take advantage of the great deal of Amazon Prime, otherwise regular shipping is also free. The dot com landscape is littered with the carcasses of companies that have tried to create online groceries, but perhaps Amazon has the clout to make it a reality.
A quick comparison of prices on ten items ranging from cereal to coffee showed that Amazon was cheaper than the local Albertson’s. In some cases you may have to order more than one of a product, but this should make it easier to order only what is necessary.
But here’s a cool feature: you can tell Amazon to automatically reorder and ship an item to you at regular intervals, which lets you obtain an even greater discount. If you know you go through a can of ground coffee every month, you can have a new one delivered each month. Almost a kanban. Well, not really.
A true kanban would be for your pantry to automatically signal Amazon to replenish an item. Or even better, your recipe program will automatically order the ingredients for delivery on the date the recipe will be used. Which of course presumes I would actually use a recipe program… or even cook for that matter… instead of the habit my wife and I have of eating out practically every night.
Perhaps someday. For now I’ll be content to manually order some snacks from Amazon Grocery. And yes, I’ll probably still order some items I don’t need. Hmmm…