The Kanban Method

Lean Production - Card Kanban

Kanban is a model of economic production management used by a great number of well known companies all over the world. Its basic principles were developed by the Toyota group in Japan, with the term "KANBAN" being literally translated as a visual card or signal. The core notion of lean production is the design of a value added process as a continuous flow.
The Principle
Owing to its analogue method of operation, Kanban Lean Production management is often denoted the "supermarket" principle. Extending the supermarket analogy, the Kanban method can be explained as such: An anonymous customer removes the produced product from the supermarket shelf. Following this the supermarket operator then refills the the quantity of product removed. This means; in the context of Kanban production planning, intervention is only necessary with regards to the quantity of product to be kept and the time of ordering. The buying and supplying processes are interrelated through a buffer inventory containing produced parts that are provided by the supplier and removed by the customer. This reduced level of required interaction means only minimal scheduling and management input is needed on a day to day basis.
Eurocharts Card Kanban Systems
How It Works
Kanban replaces the conventional order management with consumption management by forming an interconnected self managing control loop from the two series processes (See Fig.1). The control loop comprises of a consuming process; the customer, and an upstream production process; the supplier. The Kanban card is the ordering document that interconnects the two processes. Once the consuming process receives the order, it removes the appropriate product part from the buffer inventory. The resulting loss in the buffer inventory is then rectified by the production process: the production order is indicated on Kanban cards attached to the product parts. When a product part is removed from the buffer inventory, the pertinent production order card is then delivered to the supplier. The production order cards circulate in a control loop, and this process is called "Card Kanban".
Eurocharts Kanban Card pockets
Eurocharts Card Kanban System Schematic

Figure 1: The Kanban Card Process

Why use the Kanban Lean Production method?
The proper introduction and utilisation of a Kanban system will produce far reaching effects throughout a business. The Kanban system will ensure production is quickly and efficiently adjusted to match product demand at any given time. The system reduces circulating inventory levels, hence minimises capital tie up and negates any resource wastage on stock management. The Kanban systems also limit inventory levels ensuring set stocks can never be exceeded. In short, Kanban utilisation reduces stock levels, maximises output rate from order receipt to dispatch, significantly improves order control, lowers production costs, minimises waste and improves management quality.
Eight Rules for successful Kanban Utilisation
One Kanban card is assigned to each product part container
The Kanban card acts as the production order when the product part is removed
The customer process fetches the parts
Parts are removed in the order of their production
Only the quantity of parts that have been removed will be produced again
Missing parts must be reproduced as quickly as is possible
Kanban cards are only made in the department they are needed
The supplier process is responsible for the quantity of the suppliers product and must eliminate deficiencies immediately
Eurocharts Card Kanban System Kanban Card Product Attachment

Kanban Product Card

Eurocharts Card Kanban System Kanban Board

Kanban Production Board

Eurocharts Kanban Control Products
Eurocharts offers a range of Kanban control products designed to assist, visualise, control and manage all Kanban requirements ranging from Kanban Card - Product assignment and Kanban Card production order overview boards (Kanban Boards). Available in kit and custom built formats.