Kanban is the Japanese term for a signal or signaling system, to communicate the need to replenish or produce a component or item. This type of systems is widely used in many production processes and manufacturing plants which have embraced lean manufacturing principles and continuous improvement as a way to plan production and procurement. Kanban systems are very common in auto manufacturing plants where there are hundreds of components and parts which are pulled through the manufacturing process which usually operates on a just in time basis. The kanban, or replenishment signal, is usually sent when a specific safety stock level is reached.
There are many types of kanban systems used in different applications, some integrated into inventory management software , which are effective signaling systems; the selection of a kanban system is usually done on the basis of the type of inventory or item being pulled through the productive process.
The Main types of kanban systems are:
Kanban stock squares are used in applications where inventory or stock items are stored directly on the factory floor, are large items, and are used in a certain part of the production process. This type of system can also be integrated with a FIFO system. Examples of these items are pallets of components or material.
Kanaban stock markers are colored markers used in applications where there are several items such as boxes, pallets, individual items of stock that usually have a production or replenishment lead time and require a safety stock level. The marker is placed on the box, pallet or item at which the stock level is equal to the safety stock level.This system can also be used when there is no safety stock level required.
Kanaban item/component containers are usually used for small components and items used in production line processes and batch production. Each container contains a designated amount of items which is usually a complete batch of components.
Electronic kanban signals are used in applications where it is difficult to manual gauge the amount of inventory accurately, such as liquids & grains, automated inventory systems, applictions which use electronic signal and production management software.
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