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Kanban, which directly translates into signboard or billboard in Japanese, is a scheduling system for lean production used in businesses who promote, use, and work in a lean environment where waste is prevented in all forms.

It is a development that maintains and therefore controls inventory levels; a signal tells a supplier to produce and deliver a new shipment when material is consumed. These signals are tracked through the replenishment cycle, bringing visibility to the supplier, consumer, and buyer. Kanban u

ses the rate of demand to control the rate of production which improves and maintains a high level of this said production.

Its ultimate purpose is to play its part as a logistic control system.



Kanban cards are the key segment of kanban. Their focus includes signaling the need to move materials inside of a production facility or to move materials from an outside supplier into the production facility. The kanban card is, essentially, a message that signals depletion of the produced item, parts, or stock. They convey the overall need for more material. A red kanban card shows that more parts are required to finish the process. These kanban cards keep the initiating process of Kanban working the way they need to. The overall idea of kanban was developed by Taiichi Ohno, industrial engineer at Toyota, in 1952, and was implemented at the Toyota business. Taiichi Ohno stated that, to be effective, kanban must follow strict rules of use, six of which are stated.

The six rules for the application of Kanban include: a later process picks up the number of items indicated by the kanban at the earlier process, and then the earlier process produces items in the quantity and sequence indicated by the kanban. This guarantees the third rule will remain in tact: no products are made or transported without a kanban attached. Kanbans should dependably be connected to the merchandise delivered, and flawed items must not be sent on to the subsequent process. The outcome achieves 100% deformity free products.

The last rule states that by lessening the quantity of kanban, this ultimately will increase the sensitivity. In the late 1940s, Toyota started studying supermarkets with the idea of applying shelf-stocking techniques to the factory floor. In a supermarket, customers generally will retrieve what they need or want at the required time. Initially, as in markets, signboards guided “shopping” procedures to particular shopping areas inside of the store. These processes and ideas lead to a better business overall, limiting waste and improving the business production environment. Kanban is an excellent way to promote improvement.

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