Why and What is Kanban.

Lean Manufacturing PDF Lean Manufacturing PDF Lean Manufacturing PDF Kanban System explained in this multimedial guide. Here you will see how to implement a Kanban System. Read now.
Kanban System

In this article you will learn the basics of the Kanban System.
This is the best multimedia guide you can find on this Lean Tool.

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Why use the KANBAN Lean Tool.

"Kan" means “visual”.

"Ban" means “signal”.

So literally speaking, it means "Visual Signal".

Kanban is an intermediate tool prior to arrive to the "One Piece Flow".

It is strongly suggested to use the Kanban and then move to the "One Piece Flow".

  • First: Set the Kanban System

  • Second: Go to "One Piece Flow"

Basically is:

  • A way to communicate between processes

  • It helps to estabilish "pull system"

By using the Kanban system:
  • Control and Stabilize the WIP (Work In Progress)

    by avoiding one of the seven wastes (overproduction)

Remember that the final scope is to have the "one piece flow"!

Here the video with the 8 rules!

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when you have a good Kanban System try to eliminate by moving to the "one piece flow".
It is funny is not it ?!

Finally, the Kanban is useful if you have to communicate between distant processes.
If you eliminate the distance you do not need Kanban and you have the continuous flow.

What is the Kanban System?

Kanban is a signal to start an action.

This action can be a material or product need.

It could be even a visual sign for assistance or information request.

What is important to underline is that the signal is always visual and with standard procedures.

The Kanban can be made in different ways:


1) Kanban Card

Kanban System Card

2) Kanban with space

Kanban System Space

3) Boxes or Container

4) Electronic

Here how AMAZON did a GREAT job in bringing KANBAN ELECTRONIC SYSTEM in the house.

Why do not share with friends?

Kanban System: Other Golden Rules

  • Everybody in the process have to clearly understand the signal.
  • The procedures activated by a KANBAN have to be defined by people who work in the process.
  • They are the only persons that know the process in detail.

The Classic KANBAN Example:

The "Classic Kanban" in the production process is generally organized in this way:

There are 3 bins (or boxes), every bin has its own "Kanban Tag"
with information written on that.

1 bin is in the Point of Use (POU) 
1 bin is in the SuperMarket 
1 bin is in the Warehouse

When the bin in the POU is empty,  that means that they need pieces, the empty bin is moved to the supermarket where it is exchanged with a full bin.

Then the supermarket moves the empty bin to the warehouse where it is exchanged with a full bin.

The warehouse now has to ask new pieces to the supplier  and the cycle is closed.

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The 6 Rules to implement the Kanban System

To implement and let the Kanban works properly you have to follow the 6 rules.

  1. Customer (downstream) processes withdraw items in the precise amounts specified by the Kanban.
  2. Supplier (upstream) produces items in the precise amounts and sequences specified by the Kanban.
  3. No items are made or moved without a Kanban.
  4. A Kanban should accompany each item, every time.
  5. Defects and incorrect amounts are never sent to the next downstream process.
  6. The number of Kanbans is reduced carefully to lower inventories and to reveal problems.

A couple of video on Kanban

Resources for Kanban Understanding.


Just share to download the powerpoint on KANBAN



  • Kanban System
    Kanban System

    Kanban System Explained in this powerpoint. See now.