describes an embellished wooden or metalsign often representing atrademark or seal.
became animportant part of the Japanese mercantile scene in the17thcentury, much like the military banners had been to the samurai.
Visual puns,calligraphyand ingenious shapes were employed to
indicate a trade and class of business or tradesman.In the late 1940s, Toyota began studying supermarkets with aview to applying store and shelf-stocking techniques to thefactory floor, figuring, in a supermarket, customers get whatthey need, at the needed time, and in the needed amount.Furthermore, the supermarket only stocks what it believes it willsell, and customers only take what they need because futuresupply is assured. This led Toyota to view a process as acustomer of preceding processes, and the preceding processes asa kind of store. The customer process goes to this store to getneeded components, and the store restocks. As in supermarkets,originally, signboards were used to guide "shoppers" to specificrestocking locations."Kanban" uses the rate of demand to control the rate of production, passing demand from the end customer up throughthe chain of customer-store processes. In 1953, Toyota appliedthis logic in their main plant machine shop.