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How does Kanban work in manufacturing?

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    • #19
      Mike Wilson
      Moderator

      Kanban is all about making the manufacturing process less wasteful and more productive. Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota, developed Kanban specifically to improve manufacturing efficiency. It is a scheduling tool using in Lean manufacturing to efficiently operate a Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing system.

      In a JIT system, the goal is to pull production through the process when an actual request in made. In contrast, traditional manufacturing systems rely on push production, where customer demand is forecasted, and products move through the system in large batches. This can massively slow your processes, tie up a huge amount of your capital in stock, and create far too much Work in Progress (WIP) inventory.

      Essentially, Kanban is a visual signal used to trigger the next action in a process. Nothing moves forward until the signal is given, and the signal is only given once an order has been placed or an action has been completed. Kanban can be used in its most simple format to simplify one part of production line, or it can be integrated to create a full-fledged JIT system.

      Has your company used Kanban at any point in your manufacturing process? Share your experiences below!

    • #74
      Tony Ferraro
      Moderator

      Hi Mike! We recently used Kanban to help improve and streamline a process on one of our assembly lines. The problem we were trying to solve was all the WIP that was backed up on this one particular assembly line. There was no signal when to start or end the process. Once we implemented some visual communication tools to the previous lines, the workflow was running much smoother. The particular assembly line that used to get backed up with a pile of WIP was no keeping up and created less overtime for production.

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