When Looking into various systems of replenishment, there is no doubt that the Kanban system is at the top of every list. Although the ideal system in any Organization is true single piece flow, the Kanban system can help you to adjust buffers, trigger material before it is out and free up hundreds of thousands of dollars in company assets. We often times don't realize as much as 50% of an organization's assets are usually tied up somewhere in the supply chain, for that reason Kanban has become a go to system to solve many of the problems experienced by supply chain professionals.
The Kanban can be in the form of a card, bin or even just an empty space that has been clearly labeled and identified. the simplest way to explain the Kanban system is that when the Kanban is empty it acts as the "trigger" for replenishment. Grocery stores often times have Kanban systems in place to restock shelves or trigger the re-ordering of necessary supplies. Originally the Kanban system was a "Best in Class" benchmark that was observed by Taiichi Ohno while traveling in America.
Although the Kanban is a very effective way to control activities and production rates there are a few key elements that should be put in place that will help ensure the Kanban system is accepted and Successful.
1. Clearly Label your Kanban
Be sure that the System is clearly labeled with a part number or Stock Keeping Unit, if you are using a Bin make sure the Bin has been identified and the location for the bin is clearly marked.
2. No Min/Max Quantities
What? That's right the Quantity on the Kanban should be Clearly defined; There should be no minimum or maximum buy or produce ammount, what's on the card is the number.
3. Empty Kanban, replenish
Be sure that the Kanban is the trigger to replenish and that means the only trigger. It is important to note that no counting of any form should be required if the Kanban quantity has been properly figured.
4. All Kanbans should Maintain a 5S standard and Integrity
Keep the Kanban areas in proper 5S shape, you wouldn't want any sort of mixing and matching or confusion in the Kanban system. Maintaining a 5S standard will help to keep things Visual and Organized.
5. No Purchase Orders, None
This is an important element to Kanban that is often times overlooked but honestly is very powerful to the system. The whole purpose of Kanban is to create replenishment that in one way or another frees up resources and provides the activities, actions or product you need when you need it. The Kanban card should have the same authority as a purchase order and sets the quantity for the supplier to provide. While your looking at it another element that can help free up more resources is to batch your invoices on the back side.
Kanban can be a powerful system when properly implemented into an Organization, it works during high months and low months and cuts out a lot of Forecasting errors and Fluctuation in Supply and Demand. If you are interested in Receiving the Template shown above please feel free to touch base with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, we would also be happy to answer any additional questions you may have in stting up your Kanban system.