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Kanban (看板) (signboard or billboard in Japanese) is a scheduling system for lean manufacturing

and just-in-time manufacturing (JIT).[2] Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota, developed
kanban to improve manufacturing efficiency. Kanban is one method to achieve JIT.[3] The system
takes its name from the cards that track production within a factory. For many in the automotive
sector, kanban is known as the "Toyota nameplate system" and as such the term is not used by some
other automakers.

Kanban became an effective tool to support running a production system as a whole, and an
excellent way to promote improvement. Problem areas are highlighted by measuring lead time and
cycle time of the full process and process steps.[clarification needed][4] One of the main benefits of
kanban is to establish an upper limit to work in process inventory to avoid overcapacity. Other
systems with similar effect are for example CONWIP.[5] A systematic study of various configurations
of kanban systems, of which CONWIP is an important special case, can be found in Tayur (1993),
among other papers.[6][7][8][9]

A goal of the kanban system is to limit the buildup of excess inventory at any point in production.
Limits on the number of items waiting at supply points are established and then reduced as
inefficiencies are identified and removed. Whenever a limit is exceeded, this points to an inefficiency
that should be addressed.[
Toyota's Six Rules

Toyota has formulated six rules for the application of kanban:[13]

Each process issues requests (kanban) to its suppliers when it consumes its supplies.

Each process produces according to the quantity and sequence of incoming requests.

No items are made or transported without a request.

The request associated with an item is always attached to it.

Processes must not send out defective items, to ensure that finished products will be defect-free.

Limiting the number of pending requests makes the process more sensitive and reveals
inefficiencies.
Types of kanban systems

In a kanban system, adjacent upstream and downstream workstations communicate with each other
through their cards, where each container has a kanban associated with it. Economic Order Quantity
is important. The two most important types of kanbans are:

Production (P) Kanban: A P-kanban, when received, authorizes the workstation to produce a fixed
amount of products. The P-kanban is carried on the containers that are associated with it.

Transportation (T) Kanban: A T-kanban authorizes the transportation of the full container to the
downstream workstation. The T-kanban is also carried on the containers that are associated with the
transportation to move through the loop again.

The Kanban philosophy and Task Boards are also used in Agile project management to coordinate
tasks in project teams.[21] An online demonstration can be seen in an Agile Simulator.[22]
Electronic Kanban

Many manufacturers have implemented electronic kanban (sometimes referred to as e-kanban[15])


systems.[16] These help to eliminate common problems such as manual entry errors and lost
cards.[17] E-kanban systems can be integrated into enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems,
enabling real-time demand signaling across the supply chain and improved visibility. Data pulled
from E-kanban systems can be used to optimize inventory levels by better tracking supplier lead and
replenishment times.[18]

E-kanban is a signaling system that uses a mix of technology to trigger the movement of materials
within a manufacturing or production facility. Electronic Kanban differs from traditional kanban in
using technology to replace traditional elements like kanban cards with barcodes and electronic
messages like email or Electronic data interchange.

A typical electronic kanban system marks inventory with barcodes, which workers scan at various
stages of the manufacturing process to signal usage. The scans relay messages to internal/external
stores to ensure the restocking of products. Electronic kanban often uses the internet as a method
of routing messages to external suppliers[19] and as a means to allow a real-time view of inventory,
via a portal, throughout the supply chain.

Organizations like the Ford Motor Company[20] and Bombardier Aerospace have used electronic
kanban systems to improve processes. Systems are now widespread from single solutions or bolt on
modules to ERP systems.