The Kanban Approach

A Kanban is Japanese for a “Visual Signal”.

Visual Signals are the simplest way of triggering a repeat event, such as:

  • At home, making it evident when there is only one bottle or can of something left in the cupboard so some-one knows to replenish the supply.
  • At work, topping up spares or stationery in the same way.
  • At work, triggering a transaction or a manufacturing order.

By applying rules, such as only executing the transaction or manufacturing order when there is a visual signal:

  • Work is only done when required, preventing unnecessary inventory, and
  • Complex planning control systems can be avoided

Though Kanban systems can be highly developed, even applying Kanbans in such a simple way as this can make significant efficiency gains.