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Manufacturing Supermarket

What is a Manufacturing Supermarket?

A manufacturing supermarket is a lean manufacturing concept that creates miniature distribution centers close to assembly lines, allowing for quick and efficient replenishment of parts and components. This system mimics the functionality of a retail supermarket, where factory workers pull components from shelves as needed for manufacturing, similar to how shoppers select products from grocery store shelves.

As a crucial element in lean manufacturing systems, manufacturing supermarkets play a vital role in optimizing production processes by reducing transportation costs, improving inventory visibility, and enhancing overall efficiency. These strategically placed storage areas enable businesses to minimize waste, increase productivity, and respond more effectively to production demands.

Where are Manufacturing Supermarkets Utilized?

Manufacturing supermarkets can be found at various points within production facilities, from assembly lines to subassembly stations. They are typically located close to assembly lines, creating miniature distribution centers that allow for quick and easy replenishment of parts. Manufacturing supermarkets are an essential part of lean manufacturing systems, helping to ensure that workers have easy access to the components they need, when they need them.

Various industries utilize manufacturing supermarkets, including automotive, aerospace, electronics, and food processing. In automotive plants, for example, supermarkets might be strategically placed along the production line to supply different car parts. Aerospace manufacturers often use supermarkets to manage the complex array of components needed for aircraft assembly. Electronics companies may implement supermarkets to organize and distribute small components efficiently.

By providing a dedicated and organized storage area close to production points, manufacturing supermarkets help to reduce transportation waste, improve inventory visibility, and increase overall productivity. They also contribute to workplace safety by eliminating the need for fork truck traffic in personnel areas, as replenishment can be done using tugger trains or manual carts.

Optimize Production and Streamline Processes with Manufacturing Supermarkets

An inefficient parts storage and retrieval system can create bottlenecks and slow down manufacturing processes. However, a well-implemented manufacturing supermarket solution offers significant benefits for production facilities across various industries. Integrating manufacturing supermarkets with the right storage and material handling solutions can lead to the following benefits:

UNEX FlowCell Manufacturing Supermarket for auto assembly
  • Increased Efficiency: By placing bulk storage as close to the assembly line as possible, manufacturing supermarkets help minimize the need for transportation, saving time and money while increasing efficiency.
  • Boosted Morale: Workers with easy access to the needed parts are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. Happier workers can lead to increased productivity and decreased turnover.
  • Enhanced Quality: By ensuring that the right parts are available when needed, manufacturing supermarkets can help improve the final product's quality.
  • Improved Visibility: Manufacturing supermarkets make it easier to track inventory levels, which can help prevent stockouts and overstocks.

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Optimize Your Picking Operations with UNEX Manufacturing Supermarket Solutions

UNEX manufacturing supermarket solutions provide carton flow for the various storage mediums used in picking operations. In a manufacturing supermarket, SpanTrack is installed inside a rack, like Roller Rack, to create a structure where workers can pick parts destined for the assembly line. Our durable flow racks create a seamless integration between the manufacturing supermarket and other areas of the facility. For example, workers picking parts for assembly can use FlowCell mobile carts to transport said parts from the supermarket area to FlowCell lineside storage units or workstations. 

Build Manufacturing Supermarkets that Boost Efficiency and Space Utilization with UNEX

UNEX flow racks are ideal for manufacturing applications such as lineside storage, subassembly stations, supermarket racks, and modular mobile carts. FlowCell modular flow racks are proven to increase production efficiency by up to 30% within high-volume operations. Roller Rack is quick and easy to build, and it is perfect for manufacturing supermarkets due to its durable, flexible, and modular design. Utilizing FlowCell and Roller Rack with SpanTrack Lane or SpanTrack Wheel Bed will increase space utilization in your manufacturing supermarket area by up to 50%, reducing workers' search and travel times and streamlining replenishment.

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FlowCell flow racks are modular, dynamic storage units designed for a facility's unique operation. Our durable and portable workstations maximize efficiency and space for lineside storage, sub-assembly stations, supermarket racks, modular mobile carts, and more.

Additional Benefits Of FlowCell Include:

  • Increase space utilization by up to 50%
  • Boost production efficiency by up to 30%
  • Keep the factory floor organized
  • Minimize reaching and improve ergonomics by reducing injury and fatigue

Roller Rack

Roller Rack is a pre-engineered gravity flow rack designed to optimize efficiency, safety, and FIFO rotation in many settings. They are pre-configured, easy to assemble, and ready when your facility needs them.

Additional Benefits Of Roller Racks Include:

  • Quick and easy to build and install
  • Create bays seven times denser than pallet position storage
  • Reduce picker travel time by up to 75%
  • Improve access and visibility while reducing strain on workers

SpanTrack Lane

SpanTrack Lane is an innovative carton-flow solution that drops into new or existing pallet rack structures to create an efficient, reliable, and durable flow system. Depend on a robust and sturdy solution for even the most active warehouses and assembly plants.

Key benefits of Spantrack include:

  • Ensure FIFO inventory rotation
  • Reduce worker travel time by up to 75%
  • Optimized for product stacking
  • Industry-leading 7-year warranty

Pick Shelves

Tilted pick shelves significantly improve SKU visibility, resulting in faster order picking and more comfortable, precise picks for workers. Our easy-to-mount pick shelves are customizable and fit perfectly in racks and on workstations.

Additional Benefits Of Pick Shelves Include:

  • Integrate slow movers into the pick line to save space and increase efficiency
  • Eliminate the dead zone
  • Accelerate pick rates
  • Provide clear visibility and accessibility at the pick point and improve worker comfort

SpanTrack Wheel Bed

SpanTrack Wheel Bed is a flexible carton flow solution that drops into new or existing pallet rack structures to create the ultimate gravity flow rack system for order picking operations, manufacturing facilities, and more. 

Additional Benefits Of Spantrack Wheel Bed Include:

  • Hex hub wheel design for optimal flow
  • Store products with a wide variation in size and weight
  • Increase flexibility for inventory slotting with 90% left to right bay usage
  • Replenish inventory from the back without interrupting the process in front

More Applications

Packing Stations

Industrial Workstations

Each Picking

Picking Carts

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Connect with our experts to learn how UNEX manufacturing supermarket solutions help maximize productivity and optimize space for manufacturers.