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.
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.
A lean 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Purchasing becomes balanced with production kanbans and can be simplified even more using e-kanbans that automatically send purchase orders direct to suppliers.
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.
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.
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.
For these ten reasons and many more, your company should consider using a lean kanban system. If you’re looking for something that costs less, satisfies customers more, and takes the headaches out of management, a lean kanban system is just what you need.