Kanban (“signboard, billboard”) is a tool to ensure a consistent flow of process value, reduce wastes and manage inventory efficiently. A visual signalling system combines individual processes, clearly showing employees when the order is to be made or where, when and which inventory or products are to be delivered to the necessary processes.
Kanban helps reduce inventory levels, increases inventory turnover, speeds up customer and supplier response times, improves the accuracy of production schedules and shortens the time of order execution.
The Kanban method evaluates the actual consumption of products and implements a pull system to ensure the required amount of inventory from one process to another.
Kanban is an important element of the JIT (Just-in-Time) system. A standardised system helps employees clearly share responsibilities, thereby facilitating their work and, at the same time, ensuring a reduction in inventory levels and avoiding additional planning and control.
Key points of Kanban:
- the previous process does not transfer poor-quality products to the next process;
- the next process takes exactly the same amount of products and the same products it has used;
- the previous process produces only the amount ordered by the next process.
So, Kanban helps the company:
- reduce the stock of products and materials;
- follow the JIT principle (produced only when needed);
- align production processes;
- create visual management and control;
- ensure continuous production flows.