One of many tools used for successful implementation of the Lean Six Sigma methodology is a Kanban board. The term Kanban is Japanese for ‘visual card,’ which was initially introduced by Toyota. This tool is quite helpful in managing production in manufacturing and is efficient in the delivery of products. Other than that, it also helps in keeping control over inventory.
In practicing Lean manufacturing, Kanban visualizes workflow and provides sheer transparency. Kanban encourages the organizations to focus on a ‘pull’ system, which ensures that production proceeds as per the customer demand.
To begin with, the purpose of a Kanban board is to have a production and process planning based on priority. A Kanban board is like a whiteboard, which allows employees to utilize sticky notes, colored magnets, and push pins. The tasks and issues are mentioned on the Kanban cards (sticky notes) and are attached to the Kanban board in a prioritized manner. Kanban cards have three categories – to do, doing and done. The cards possess color codes depending on the categories, such as red for ‘to do’, yellow for ‘doing’ and green for ‘done.’
Additionally, a Kanban board empowers the team and increases the level of self-organization. Kanban saves an ample amount of time for managers and stakeholders. They don’t have to hold up a meeting to get task status updates and can get the updates instantly just by looking at the Kanban board. For a mobile workflow, digital Kanban boards are the new thing, providing real-time information and transparency within the organization.
Benefits of Kanban
- Standard Production Process
- No Over-Production
- Prioritized Tasks
- Inventory Reduction
- Flow Management
- Flow & Process Tracking
- Improved Efficiency
- Focused on Customer Demand
Consequently, Kanban establishes better communication among employees through visual management. Industries such as software development, HR, health services and many more are also employing Kanban tools for an effective workflow and gradual improvement.