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Why should you implement a lean kanban system? How can you beat a simplified production system that costs less, satisfies customers more, and takes the headaches out of management? A kanban is system of signals used in lean to balance the flow of work, materials, and people to get a job done. Kanbans are used within agile software development, manufacturing, service deployment, construction, and just about anywhere people are implementing lean systems.
Let’s look at the top ten reasons for implementing a lean kanban system.
1. Visualizes your work
A lean kanban translates your production planning into visual kanban boards, kanban cards, or electronic e-kanban signals. A value stream map is used to understand your kanban needs. Workers can all see what the current production plan is easily and quickly by reading the visual kanbans.
2. Reduces your Work In Progress (WIP)
A Kanban is built by balancing your individual work cells to the pull of customer demand using kanban signals. Lean balanced flow reduces WIP created by batch sizes that are larger than customer orders.
3. Moves your work along Steadily
A balanced flow is achieved by understanding the takt time or rhythm of customer demand and then adjusting individual work cell batch sizes to achieve the steady balanced product flow. Your workers jobs are now even, steady, set to a comfortable frequency that satisfies customers and management.
4. Improves your work flow
A steady balanced lean product flow is a great lean process improvement over traditional chaotic systems made of large batch sizes. The whole system operates together as a team reducing employee stress levels and adding a calm to the organization.
5. Releases your work on demand
New orders trigger the system to produce the next batch. A balanced system only produces enough products to fulfill customer demand and hence only releases orders on demand.
6. Simplifies your production planning
Your production planning is reduced to adjusting the kanban size as market conditions change. A steady balanced manufacturing flow sets the order turnaround time eliminating expedited orders and special rush jobs that are the bane of traditional production planning. In effect, all orders are expedited when you balance the flow to customer demand.
7. Eases your purchase planning
Purchasing becomes balanced with production kanbans and can be simplified even more using e-kanbans that automatically send purchase orders direct to suppliers.
8. Increases your customer satisfaction
The real goal of a kanban is to understand what all customers demand and then focus your production on that customer demand. When your customers get what they want, when they want it, they become very satisfied customers. That is the value of a lean competitive advantage.
9. Eliminates your employee confusion
Simplified production planning, simplified purchase planning, and simplified work cells all lead to a simplified system. Employees can see the simplification and easily understand the flow. Confusion is virtually eliminated.
10. Minimizes your overproduction risks
Inventory can become obsolete quickly in today’s fast changing marketplace. A lean kanban will reduce your exposure to excessive older inventory by focusing your production on customer demand instead of production planning. If you only make what you need then there is little obsolete inventory risk.
Top Ten Reasons for Using a Lean Kanban
- Visualizes your work
- Reduces your Work In Progress (WIP)
- Moves your work along Steadily
- Releases your work on demand
- Improves your work flow
- Simplifies your production planning
- Eases your purchase planning
- Increases your customer satisfaction
- Eliminates your employee confusion
- Minimizes your overproduction risks