What Is The Kanban System for Lean Manufacturing?

The Kanban system is created long ago by a successful business, Toyota. The system itself is known worldwide in the business world; with its specialty, uniqueness, and comfort in working, the Kanban system has introduced the world a new generation of working conditions, planning, management, and other areas and subjects of business. Thanks to its structured outline, the Kanban system has promoted and made thousands of businesses to the world’s top most successful businesses. With the Kanban system, time is no longer wasted, money is no longer scarce, customers will no longer question, and quality will never be asked.

The word ‘Kanban’ comes from a Japanese word which means ‘card’. The Kanban system, as it is known, uses cards which have several meanings and serve as representations for withdrawal, deposit, and other signals which develops and practices a smoother flow of businesses in the productivity line. In a real situation, using signals and symbols in the system will send a connection or a message to the manufacturing team. The Kanban system is developed and designed with its intention to provide a quick response between both the manufacturer and the deliver so that the system can be used in real situations and that time will not be much wasted.

Ways to Use Kanban Signals

There are indeed numbers of ways to use the Kanban system wisely. The system itself has lots of ways to use the signals which will enhance productivity and make things flow easier in a system. Though, different signals are used in different situations. For instance, a company dealing with network connections and Wi-Fi system wants to delivery its portable cables to another company where the deadline is on the next day; the company of course has to use an electronic Kanban in order to relay the information quickly and directly to the manufacturing team.


1. Kanban Card

2. Look-see

3. E-mails

4. Electronic Kanban

The Kanban card is used mainly for standard situations like moving of items from one place to another. Suppose a manager gets a feedback that the delivered products were damaged and ruin; to solve the problem, the company has to use the Kanban card to signal the manufacturing team and the customer relation team to deal with the problem. The Look-see signal makes it easier for all the teams because the situation they are all in reveals what happens around them. If there is a need for anything like delivery, withdrawal, or a refund, all the teams will see and be able to react quickly. E-mails are considered modern and electronic; it is a communication system that involves technology and computer networks. E-mails allow quick and fast delivery of messages that can get all teams in touch to know what is happening. Relaying of information, messages, and responses can be really quick and convenient. Electronic Kanban works pretty similar to emails but the fact that messages are being relayed might work differently. The electronic Kanban allows a quick response and relaying of messages as well; the electronic Kanban signal though, uses technology and tools that are complex than normal tools like computers, a screen, video camera, or an online cam are the probable tools used in electronic Kanban signals.

What the Kanban System needs

Since we all know that the Kanban system is one of the management concepts from Toyota by reading the above paragraphs, the Kanban signals and cards are very important factors of the whole system which needs fast and quick responses as well as relaying of messages, following the Just-in-Time concept. It is very important to keep in mind that the products, spare parts, and other things that are needed to produce specific products are always needed in stock (only in a moderate amount) so that the system will flow smoothly. When Kanban signals are used, it is needed for all teams to be ready and observe the signals carefully to see what is next to do and to follow so that products will be produced with high quality and that they will follow the orders.

Without a Kanban card, the system wouldn’t work efficiently. The system might as well work, but of course not in a Kanban way. Kanban cards are similar to bills and paper currencies that customers trade with products and wants, once products are finished and produced. In the Kanban system, it is also very considerate to know well about the relationships between all the teams within the productivity line. The productivity team is the inventory team’s customer whereas the inventory team is the manufacturing team’s customer. It is healthy for businesses to take a look greatly and observe carefully at these relationships to understand greater about each team’s weakness and strengths so that more improvements can be done.

What information should a Kanban card have?

1. Name of the raw materials used

2. Name of the manufacturer (This information is needed to provide defenses to companies when many manufacturers can produce numbers of raw materials)

3. The amount of products made (is a representation for money)

4. The serial number of card (needed for contact)

5. The amount of cards (When a Kanban card is missing, it is risky and most-likely that products will not be received or made)

Types of Kanban Cards

1. Production Order Card

2. Withdrawal Card

3. Container

The rules and regulations include:

1. Within each container, there must always be a card

2. If there is no approval in the withdrawal card then it is impossible to transfer products

3. The container must contain the right amount of products with high quality only

4. Only high quality parts or components in making specific products are used in the productivity line

5. The total amount of products produced should not be more than the amount recorded in the card

Other Symbols:

A container is mainly a signal in the system to show that productivity is needed once it is empty. In a container less situation, the container will not be used; instead, empty spaces and areas will signal a need in productivity which then acts like a Kanban card.