Costco Prescanning – Good Examples of Reducing Waste


    I was standing in line at our local Costco behind four or five people. Was pleasantly surprised to see a Costco person come by and "Pre Scan" all the items in your cart before you reach the checkout counter!

    She had a wireless checkout handheld. She scanned the membership card and quickly prescanned all the items in my cart.

    I did not have to empty out my cart on to the checkout conveyor. None of those items were touched again. When I reached the counter the counter person just scanned my membership card again and the transaction completed.

    Good example of some Lean Thinking! It seems to have achieved improvements at least in 3 out of the 7 Deadly Wastes identified by Taiichi Ohno of Toyota!.

    By not making me pick up all the items from my cart onto the conveyor, scanning them and again placing them in the cart, Transportation waste was avoided. Manual handling always ends up in damage to goods and waste.

    Waiting Time as a customer was cut down since the lady with the handheld scanner did the prescanning while somebody ahead of me was being checked out. In addition, My waiting time was cut making me happier as a customer.

    Motion Waste was cut down since my items were never moved from my cart to the checkout conveyor and back again. Motion waste relates to the worker. Any time motion waste is cutdown workers save on time, effort, potential injuries, etc.

    Good thinking on Costco’s part. I am sure many other companies will also start adopting these methods.

    It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste – Henry Ford


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