Kanban is a Japanese term meaning “signboard” and “visual signal.” It’s a production-control system that uses cards (called a Kanban) as visual triggers to control the flow of materials or parts during the manufacturing process. This visual management synchronizes the work processes within your own organization as well as those that involve your supply chain.
Kanban’s are an integral part of a Pull System that allows you to develop a sustainable material management strategy that controls the flow of information and material in a production process by replacing only what has been consumed. They are order-driven production schedules based on actual demand and consumption rather than forecasting. Implementing Pull Systems help eliminate waste in handling and storage.
Benefits of the Kanban Systems
Your business must have enough capacity to meet customer demand. But when you have a smaller amount of work to be done, you’ll either face underutilization of your workers, machines and material or you’ll face overproduction.
With the Kanban system, your workforce is cross-trained on various machines, equipment and production processes in order to tackle different manufacturing tasks as needed. This prevents underutilization of your resources. When the Kanban system is used correctly, you also avoid overproduction, the single largest source of waste for most manufacturers.
Establishing Kanban Systems
Independent and objective assistance can help you to best establish your initial strategies for flow management. Our consultants are skilled facilitators who can formally instruct your company and educate your workforce on the principles and practices of Kanban/Pull Systems. Practical application of the Kanban tool with follow-up sessions over an extended period of time will ensure sustainability.
In addition, having an outside consultant facilitate your Kanban events ensures that your organizational needs are met and established targets are reached. Our experienced Lean consultants know how to develop a sound material management strategy and apply the concepts and principles of Kanban/Pull Systems most effectively.