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Yes, we have used the Kanban method and it has helped us tremendously. Having Kanban implemented can help control and manage your WIP. If you can control your WIP, your production will increase. We had one particular assembly line that was overloaded and causing a bottleneck in our assembly area. Therefore, we needed to implement Kanban in our proviso assembly lines to let them know when to start and stop certain areas of the assembly line. After the implementation and doing some time studies we were able to decrease the WIP and increase production. We even eliminated overtime.
Hi Mike! I think the one thing that we struggled with was getting the limits setup correctly. We didn’t have a good manufacturing ERP system in place. So we couldn’t track or have accurate time studies completed. This made it extremely difficult. Our CEO decided, to invest in a new ERP system and were now finally tracking labor and output data. This has helped us narrow in on more accurate WIP limits. I’ll keep you updated as we continue to fine tune our ERP system and data analysis.
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.
Kanban can be used along side JIT or even separate. Kanban is a great visual tool to help identify the steps of a process in manufacturing. Kanban has four principles visualize workflow, limit work in progress (WIP), focus on flow, and continuous improvement.
Great question! Kanban bins can be any size and used for any type of business. I have seen Kanban bins used at the hospitals, IT offices, coffee shops, pharmacies, auto mechanics, and of course manufacturing facilities. Many businesses use these bins to hold and manage their inventory. Depending on how advanced the company processes and computer systems are, they may even have barcodes so when the inventory reaches a minimum qty the employee will scan the barcode which triggers a PO to be created for purchasing. Kanban is a great tool to control inventory and cost. Hope this helps.
I have seen Kanban used at a coffee shop. They implemented Kanban to make sure they knew when they were running out of particular coffee beans, syrup flavorings, cups, lids, stoppers, etc. They would have a card showing when they reached their minimum stock qty. The card would tell them how many to order and where to order them from. The employee was responsible for letting the manager know and to make sure the supplies were ordered. It was interesting to see this concept being used in a coffee shop when I have only really seen it in a manufacturing environment.