Kanban System in Lean Manufacturing (Part#5 of Big Fat Lean)

Kanban is an information system used to ascertain that production occurs only when the demand is created downstream.

Kanban literally signboard or billboard in Japanese, is a scheduling system for lean and just-in-time (JIT) production. Kanban is a system to control the logistical chain from a production point of view, and is an inventory control system. Kanban was developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota, as a system to improve and maintain a high level of production. (wikipedia, 2015)

Kanban is a visual tool used to achieve just in time (JIT) production.

Type of Kanban

 There are 2 kinds of Kanban

1. Production Kanban: It specifies the kind and quantity of product that the upstream process (supplier) must produce. This is also known as push Kanban

2. Withdrawal Kanban: This specifies the kind and quantity of product that the downstream process (customer) may withdraw. This tool is known as pull kanban

The two work in tandem. See the below diagram for the flow.

The six Kanban rules

To achieve just-in-time (JIT) product, one should follow ‘Six Kanban rules’

Rule 1: Never ship defective items.

Rule 2: The customer withdraws only what is needed.

Rule 3: Produce only the quantity withdrawn by the customer.

Rule 4: Level production - the production orders should be stable, say, we can’t order 50 pieces in one hour and 250 pieces in the next hour, if our processes are to produce right part, in right quantity, in right time.

Rule 5: Use Kanban to fine tune production. The customer withdrawal of product should be at a constant rate. Example: customer department should not demand 100 pieces in the first hour, and 200 pieces in the next which results in stocking and hence collapse of the whole system.

Rule 6: Stabilise and strengthen the process. Reduce Muda, Mura and Muri by implementing poka yokes (to detect errors), reduce walk time /awkward postures that strain team members, and rationalize layouts.
Read previous parts of BIG FAT LEAN series

Part#1: What is Lean Manufacturing Technology?
Part#2: Benefits of Lean Manufacturing
Part#3: 8 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing
Part#4: The 5S system - An essential  in Lean Manufacturing tool

This is a guest submission by Vijayalaxmi Meharwade.

About Vijayalaxmi Meharwade: Vijayalaxmi is a graduate (B.E.) in Textile and Master is Textile Technology (Garment Technology). She has 14 years of experience in research, and working in industry concerning textile and garment manufacturing. She has also worked as a teaching faculty. 

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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