Kanban is a manufacturing system used to make the work processes easier and efficient. One-way to do this is to balance material flows by employing controlled inventories. Kanban achieves this by focusing on the flow of production. If one part of the production process is not in flow then it can affect other areas and lead to business problems. Kanban uses visual cards for maintaining the work-flow. However, the system can be modified specific to your business needs.

The Kanban System was developed by Mr. Taiichi Ohno more than twenty years ago to achieve the following goals :

  • Reduction in cost by elimination of scrap.
  • Work sites that respond to occurrences quickly.
  • Achievement and assurance of total quality control.
  • To design work sites that facilitate development of mutual trust as well as support and allow employees to unlock their maximum potential.

Kanban is not a fixed set of processes, which you can implement to make your business more efficient and work-driven. In fact, the best way to use Kanban is to implement it with your existing business processes so that you can better pinpoint flaws in the system and remedy the same. It will help you adjust your business model to increase productivity, efficiency and profits. That is, to implement Kanban, first know the flaws in your business cycle and then visualize the new methods you want to achieve.

Types of kanban

Two most common types of kanbans that are employed nowadays are :

  • Withdrawal kanban (also called as conveyance kanban)
  • Production kanban

Withdrawal kanban

Withdrawal kanban facilitates passing the authorization for the movement of parts from one level to another. Once it receives the parts from the previous process and moves them to the next process, leftover with the parts until the last part has been used-up by the next process. The withdrawal type Kanban then reaches back to the preceding operations to get parts and completes the cycle.

Withdrawal kanban usually transports information including :

  • Part name
  • Part number
  • Lot size
  • Routing process
  • Container type and capacity
  • Number of containers
  • Name and location of the next process
  • Name and location of the preceding process

Production kanban

One of the primary functions of the production kanban is to release an order to the preceding level to create the lot size marked on the card.

Withdrawal kanban usually transports information including :

  • Input parts needed at the preceding level.
  • Materials needed at the preceding level.
  • Information marked on withdrawal kanban.