By now you have read a lot about the theories behind Kanban, the benefits Kanban can provide, and much more. If you’re ready to get started with bringing the concepts of this system to a reality in your facility, you will need to know how to implement Kanban. This brief guide will outline what you need to know so you can get started. Of course, every facility is unique and will have specific requirements that vary from place to place. This outline, however, is a great place to start for any company.
Understand Your Current System
In order to successfully change the way your facility works, you need to know how things are currently being done. Mapping out your current workflow will help you to identify where Kanban changes need to be made. While it can be tempting to just rush in and start making changes based on Kanban strategies, it is much better to take your time and do it right the first time.
Bring Visualization to the Work
Based on the information gathered above, identify areas where visual communication can be implemented. Any area that has parts that need to be used during production, for example, can add in visual cues that will alert the proper groups that they are running low on a particular part. Creating a standard for your Kanban cards, Kanban boards, and other items will help to ensure everyone understands what is being done.
Optimize the Flow
Watch how products move through your production process, and watch for any areas where there is a bottleneck or other slowdown. Find ways to eliminate or compensate for this type of problem. In order for Kanban to be a success, the work must truly flow through the facility from start to finish so that everything can be completed in a timely manner.
Adjust Your Work in Progress
This is perhaps the most difficult to implement because many people may be resistant to this type of change. Adjusting your work in progress so that everything is pulled through based on orders rather than pushed through based on projections is critical. Once it can be shown that reducing the number of products in a work in progress state can still effectively meet customer demand, it will become clear just how much waste is being eliminated.
Never Stop Improving
Kanban isn’t a one-time overhaul to the way things are being done in a facility. Instead, it requires continuous improvement for the life of the company. Constantly monitoring how things are being done, thinking of potential improvements, and seeing what works best will help you to get the most out of any Kanban implementation.
- How does a Kanban system operate?
- How is Kanban used in production control?
- What are the principles of Kanban?
- How does the Kanban system help manage workflow?
- What are Kanban cards and how do they work?
- Who developed Kanban?