The Kanban system explained - Lean thinking

Updated: May 21, 2020

One of the great tools to reduce inventory and manage your supplies is the Kanban system. Fairly easy to implement, it gives control to the shop floor to replenish and contribute to continuous improvement through reduction of inventory, diminishing the size of batches.

Watch the video below to know more.

So what is Kanban?

It comes from Japanese with “Kan” meaning Visual and Ban meaning Card. It was invented by Taiichi Ono at Toyota, and was built into the movement of creating a visual workplace, where visual elements reduce the need for training and increases standardization.

The system will have a card, which will move back in the opposite direction to parts or goods, to signal that parts downstream are finished

We sometimes talk about “Supermarket”, which is another Kanban technic.

What benefits will the Kanban system bring?

  • It reduces stockouts, minimizes expenses to reorder and ship products urgently

  • It forces stock rotation with the bin system being first in first out, reduces obsolescence and damages

  • Simplified the management system by requiring less efforts once it has been established and in practice

  • Reduces needed inventory levels by learning how the system flows, and therefore reduces inventory space

  • And it increases cash flow as your inventory is reduced to the minimum

Below is an example of a Kanban card that you can use in your inventory management.

You can also download a modifiable template in our template library.

You can also check our video library to access to a more detailed video on Kanban system.

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