The Kanban Approach
What is Kanban?
- Kanban is an approach to plan your production processes
- Kanban is based on a pull process, hence it is oriented on real-time consumption of production material
- That consumption-based approach reduces waste in terms of overproduction and inventory
- It is highly focused on actual customer demand and leads to a decrease of your internal lead and throughput time
- Kanban improves your information flow and communication between two (or more) processes
- Its origin comes from Kanban Cards as the carrier of all relevant information like quantities and product details
- Whenever your production process empties a box of supplier parts, a Kanban Card is forwarded to an upstream process or supplier to refill that particular box
The Kanban Card
- The Kanban loop contains the Kanban Cards, full boxes and empty boxes
- Each Card belongs to 1 box of parts. The more Cards you put inside the loop, the more boxes of parts you will have
- If the downstream process stops its production, no further Kanban Cards will be passed to the upstream process
- As each Kanban Card acts as a production order, the upstream process will stop its production as well
Heijunka – The link between Customer Demand and Production
- The Heijunka Board is the place where all demand cards (Kanban cards) come together.
- The optimal production plan is created from the sum of the cards.
- The big advantage is that production continues demand-oriented and therefore no waste in the form of overproduction can arise.