Friday, March 04, 2016

2 card Kanban in pictures..

How the Production (green) and withdtrawal(red) kanbans work
A normal kanban giving the numerous info it carries ..
By reducing kanbans between workstations, inventory between
workstations can also be reduced , leading to continuous improvement.
pic courtesy gemba research
Kanban means visual card. It is used to keep track of work in process inventory on the shopfloor. If and when WIP between two processes or workstations need to be reduced, just have to reduce the kanbans by that amount.

For example, if between WS A and WS B there were 5 WIP inventory stocked, indicated by 5 kanbans. The connection between WS A and WS B is said to be loosely coupled because until all the 5 items are used up, there is no demand for new items. 

If the manager wants to have a tightly coupled system between WS A and WS B, he will remove 2 kanbans from the system. Now there are only 3 WIP between A and B, so the system is said to be tightly coupled than earlier. Any problem that occurs has to be urgently attended to, as otherwise the WIP inventory would get consumed and the workstations would be started for items leading to stoppage of the production line. 

Even though outwardly it looks as if it is just an inventory problem, the tightly coupled nature between the workstations make it very demanding and can motivate the workers to give their best to the system. 

Thus Kanbans as much as helping keeping track of WIP between work stations, also helps to reduce the WIP inventory over time and makes the system very dynamic and responsive.

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