Pull / Kanban Systems
Pull/Kanban is shop floor control for the scheduling of inventory and production without the aid of a Material Requirements Planning (MRP) system. Pull signals are developed to limit chaos and bring order to an operation by linking producing and consuming processes while reducing Work In Process (WIP).
What is Kanban?
Created by Taiichi Ohno, Kanban systems are a means by which lean and just-in-time (JIT) production can be achieved by a manufacturer.
Kanban is part of an approach reliant upon receiving the pull from the demand. This means that the supply or production is determined according to what the customers are asking for instead of basing it off of the forecasts for demand, or “pushing.”
Pull systems are especially effective for companies that operate in a sector where the supply time is lengthy and demand is difficult to forecast. The Kanban approach helps a manufacturer respond quickly and effectively to an observed approach instead of relying upon an uncertain projection.
Kanban is a scheduling system, not an inventory control system, and it helps to determine what a manufacturer should produce, when to produce it and the quantity of the given product.
The system was developed in the 1940s as a way for supermarkets to restock their supplies more efficiently, as customer demand was hard to predict and often buying decisions were unguided and based on random events. Though the ideas may be from a bygone era, the use of these systems persists due to the basic principles of Kanban.
Many modern manufacturers have implemented electronic Kanban systems to optimize production and to eliminate common problems like manual entry errors and lost category cards.
The DVIRC Continuous Improvement Team is certified by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). They have extensive and diverse professional and practical manufacturing and Lean experience and have devised strategies to help ease the transition to methods like Kanban.
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