One frequent and tricky question when designing a pull system is to determine how many kanbans to use in the system. There are two possible approaches. First, you can calculate the number of kanbans using a kanban formula. Due to the length of the process, I have broken this into two posts (For the second part click here). Alternatively, you can estimate the number of kanbans and adjust the system as it is running (as shown in a third post).
Pull production using Kanban is one of the major achievements of the Toyota Production System and hence lean manufacturing. The work in progress is limited by the number of Kanban. Overproduction is avoided by producing only if a part is taken out of the supermarket and the Kanban card is returned to the start of production. However, this Kanban system works only if the Kanban returns to the start of production. Losing Kanban means not reproducing goods sold. In this post I would like to talk about different methods to prevent the loss of Kanban, including different Kanban types.
Kanban systems are a huge help in industry, ensuring a steady availability of parts and products without excess stock. However, Kanbans are not necessarily limited to industrial use. In this post I will describe a simple Kanban system for office supplies. This system is also sometimes known as triangle kanban. One benefit of this system is that it will improve the availability of pens, paper, and other supplies. However, a second major benefit is that this provides a risk-free opportunity to train your people in creating and using Kanban systems.
Lean manufacturing pull systems use both FIFO lanes and supermarkets to manage the material and information flow. In my previous post we covered the basics about supermarket and FIFO lanes. Now we go into details about the ten rules when to use a supermarket instead of a FIFO.
It is generally accepted knowledge that a lean manufacturing pull system uses both FIFO lanes and supermarkets to manage the material and information flow. However, there are few guidelines on when to use a supermarket and when to use a FIFO lane. This post is the first of a two-part series that will give ten general rules of thumb for when to use a supermarket instead of a FIFO lane. The second post will go into more detail about the ten rules.