When looking for ways to improve a manufacturing facility, you will come across a lot of information discussing both Kanban and Lean manufacturing techniques. It can become confusing to understand the difference between the two, and how they are related. In many cases, Kanban and Lean manufacturing can be used together, and even used to complement each other. Taking some time to learn more about these two strategies is very important.
What is Lean Manufacturing?
Lean manufacturing is a set of strategies and concepts that is designed to help companies eliminate waste in the facility. There are many ways that this can be done, all of which can be beneficial depending on the environment.
What is Kanban?
Kanban can help a company to reduce waste, but it isn’t strictly a waste reduction methodology. Instead, Kanban is set up to help to manage the workflow of a company. Using Kanban, a company will not produce products ahead of time, nor will it have huge inventory of parts needed for production. Instead, production is ‘pulled’ through the process by demand from the customers. Until a customer actually makes an order, their products aren’t made. This helps to minimize the amount of storage space that is needed, and cuts back on the risks associated with keeping parts or products stored in a warehouse.
Using Kanban in Lean
So, while Kanban and Lean are separate methodologies, they can be used together. Many companies that are implementing Lean manufacturing will want to take advantage of the benefits of Kanban as well. By using Kanban, a Lean manufacturing facility will enjoy a variety of benefits, not the least of which is the reduction of many types of waste that are normally present during the workflow process. Whether used in conjunction or on their own, both Lean and Kanban can help a facility to operate much more efficiently and reduce the waste that is created.
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