ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Business and Employment»
  • Learn Business Skills

Kanban, a lean production and inventory control method

Updated on June 15, 2012

What is kanban?

Kanban is a Japanese word meaning billboard or signboard. It is derived from kan which means visual and ban which means card or board. In lean manufacturing, kanban is used as a means of inventory management and production control which signals that something needs to be done. In the case of raw material it notifies purchasing to seek procurement of more raw materials. In the case of a manufactured part it signals the need for production to begin. Kanban is an important part of Just in Time Manufacturing.

Definition of a push system

In a conventional push system of manufacturing, batches of product are made and put into stock. Large batches are commonly run to spread the changeover times over many parts to reduce the cost per unit. There are many disadvantages with this mentality of production. One is that money is tied up in inventory that may sit around for a long time. This inventory takes up valuable factory space that could be used for manufacturing. The longer the material is stored the more chance that the product will degrade, get lost, or become obsolete.

Definition of a pull system

In a pull system of manufacturing, parts are only produced when they are needed. It is also referred to as just in time production. The amount of inventory on hand at any given time is reduced. Batch sizes are also reduced. There are many advantages to this type of system. Money can be freed up to be invested on more profitable aspects of the business. Plant space can be freed up to allow development of other work cells. Response times are generally shorter than in push systems. Mistakes are generally caught sooner resulting in less defective parts.

Demonstration of kanban in a pull system

Kanban in a pull system

Now that we have a general understanding of kanban and a pull system, let’s discuss kanban's role in a pull system. Kanban plays two roles in a pull system of manufacturing. The first is in inventory control. The second is in production control. The video to the right demonstrates them both.

Kanban in the role of inventory control. After material is depleted to a predefined level, a kanban signals the purchasing professionals to start the process of procuring more of said material. In the video, purchased materials in inventory include (6) GPS units, (6) of each cabins and cockpits, and (6) each hulls and sails.

Kanban in the role of production control. After manufactured inventory is depleted to a predefined level, a kanban signals production to replenish the stock. In the video there is a work cell for each of the tasks to be done. (1) for adding sails to hulls, (1) for adding cabins and cockpits, and (1) for adding GPS. Each cell is responsible for keeping the inventory level of their subassemblies at a predefined level. In this demonstration it is (6) of each type of subassembly.

 

No kanban cards

Types of kanban

A kanban signal can present itself in many different forms. One of the most common forms is a kanban card. The possession of the card serves as a signal to replenish inventory. A kanban card is usually full of information about the part. It may include the part number, lot size, locations, container size, and much more.

Another form of kanban is the 2 bin system. In this system there are two bins for each part. One is located where the product will be used and the other in the location where the product will be made. In this system any empty bin gives the signal to start producing stock to fill the bin. Once the bin is full it will be moved into storage. When a bin is emptied it is taken to the preceding operation to be replenished and the full bin in storage is taken back to be used.

The most technically advanced for of kanban is the E-kanban. This form of kanban uses computer technology to send the kanban signal. One major advantage is the instantaneous transmittal of the signal. Another advantage is that the kanban can be for the exact amount instead of a lot size. This brings the system closer to one piece flow.

There are many different variations and types of kanban. The possibilities are endless which will allow you to tailor kanbans to fit each and every aspect of your application.

 

Advantages of using kanban

Since kanban goes hand in hand with just in time production, there benefits are similar. They include reduced inventory, smaller batch sizes, quicker response times, and less defective parts. Kanban is an integral part of lean and the Toyota production system.

Comments on Kanban

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      Excellent points and great information! The Company I work for currently uses something very similar to Kanban. It is definitely a great tool to organize and ordering products.

    • WestOcean profile image

      WestOcean 7 years ago from Great Britain

      An outstanding article on Kanban. As a fellow lean practitioner, I enjoyed it a lot.

    • johnyater profile image
      Author

      johnyater 7 years ago from Hamilton, Ohio

      Daniel, thanks for visiting my hub. I like your hub on process mapping. Keep up the good work!

    • Daniel Belize profile image

      Daniel Belize 7 years ago

      An excellent hub on a key lean process technique.

    • johnyater profile image
      Author

      johnyater 8 years ago from Hamilton, Ohio

      LeanMan, thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my hub. I look forward to reading some of your hubs...

    • LeanMan profile image

      Tony 8 years ago from At the Gemba

      Kanban is one of the most important features of any Just In Time system application within lean manufacturing. Without this no flow can ever be easily achieved, certainly you will never achieve pull..

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)