Last Updated on 13 September 2023
Kanban is a visual tool that signals what, when and how much of a resource is needed for the process. It literally means ‘signal’ (kan) ‘card’ (ban) from Japanese. It is a card system that signals when and where inventory is needed.
Using a kanban system limits the finished goods and work in progress to the minimum required to meet customer demand. This is known as Just In Time (JIT).
The kanban system
Kanban involves splitting the work into individual tasks; these are often written on cards or stick notes.
You then split these cards by the status of the project:
What is Kanban?
Kanban means sign, and is a visual system for showing the usage of inventory.
A kanban card is a signal to pull material from previous steps.
Why do we use it?
Kanban stops you having more inventory that you need, saving working capital
You will want to already have an efficient workplace before you implement kanban.
How do you implement kanban?
Value stream map
Create a value stream map that lets you know where the inventory flows through your system
Create a minimum level of inventory that causes the stock to be replenished from the safety stock