Aug 15, 2019
Keeping your business inventory managed is crucial, which is something we probably don’t need to tell you. There are dozens of different ways to handle this task, but one of the most prized for those using lean manufacturing systems is the Kanban system. This inventory scheduled system ensures a company stocks only the most necessary components for their distribution or production processes.
When lean manufacturing is in use, materials are pulled throughout the distribution and production processes. However, the Kanban system is put in place, so a business or organization knows when they need to replenish and reorder required stock.
The Kanban inventory management process has been in place for many decades. An industrial engineer at Toyota in the 1940s named Taichi Ohno took the time to start thinking about how supermarkets handle their inventory. He realized that restocking items only when they were needed, made manufacturing more efficient. Based on that discovery, Ohno developed Kanban, which has been used ever since to help teams in all sorts of industries manage their workload.
Kanban is a process that promotes the flow of products through the manufacturing process to eliminate inventory and labor waste. One of the essential parts in Kanban is the “just in time” idea where you only order what is needed in the amounts required at the time, it is necessary. In the 1950s, the Toyota Production System was implemented, which uses Kanban, and it was rolled out to their primary machine shop.
Most of the time, you will see Kanban associated with lean manufacturing. This is a manufacturing method where waste is reduced or eliminated as much as possible. Since Kanban looks at bringing in supplies only when needed, the two things work well together. Nowadays, Kanban is used in all sorts of situations, from marketing to software development and hiring, but it can also be used in effective inventory systems.
Before Toyota brought in the Kanban system, manufacturing worked on a push system instead of a pull system. Customer demand and supplies were forecasted, and materials would be purchased based on those forecasts. This led to many companies who were overly stocked on inventory and dealing with extremely extended lead times.
With a pull production system, inventory is controlled by the actual orders that come into a business. The just in time method works to balance demand with actual inventory to level the rate of production to what is being sold or consumed. This method helps prevent or decrease overproduction, extra inventory, and overprocessing. Just in time is a model for manufacturing, while Kanban is one of the best tools that can be used to achieve what you want.
This inventory management system has support for the entirety of the production system while allowing room for improvement at the business. The use of cards, bins, and visual signals facilitates communication during production as well as with buyers, suppliers, and consumers. The cues are changed and sent out to teams, suppliers, or departments to ensure replenishment occurs when needed.
If you are in the process of designing a Kanban system for your business, it’s crucial to consider the Kanban tools that are best going to work for you. You will then want to tailor the system, so it is ideal for the workplace in which it is implemented. Some of the potential tools include the following:
If you happen to be implementing a Kanban system to a facility that is large with complex processes, this might facilitate the need for a combination of tools to handle all the moving parts. While things can get complicated quite quickly, the six rules developed by Toyota can help ensure the Kanban system remains effective and efficient.
Knowing what the four core principles of Kanban are and utilizing them in your organization will help the employees, workplace, and managers follow best practices which can lead to success.
Kanban is one of the most logical options for monitoring your level of inventory and meeting customer demand for a successful business. However, that doesn’t mean there is nothing you need to account for when you put a system into place. Having an idea of the benefits of this system will give you a good idea if implementing it is right for you.
Part of Lean Inventory – Kanban is excellent for lean manufacturing and can create a lean inventory situation to go with it. When the two are used in tandem, there is no extra inventory hanging around, which means defective and obsolete items aren’t just sitting on shelves wasting your space.
Using Kanban is easy, and with the proliferation of technology, any business can take advantage of it. Kanban inventory software solutions make the process much more automated. You can still use the two-bin system on the production line while incorporating software that connects to RFID tags and barcodes in the bins as well as setting up a database online that tracks and restocks products without any human help. If it’s something you are considering, it could make your manufacturing environment much more efficient!