Kanban is known, as a scheduling system for lean manufacturing, developed to achieve maximum efficiency. Kanban maintains stability between processes and automatic parts’ order. The most important system, practiced in Kanban, is called FIFO (First IN First OUT). This tool is used for inventory valuation.

Let’s see some examples of how the FIFO system works in production:

The first component, let’s call Component 1 is OUT of the storage, meaning the production cycle begins.  Component 1 will be assembled with other components becoming an assembly=final product, ready to be delivered to the customer, using the FIFO system is OUT. When Component 1 is OUT from the storage Component 4 is IN to complete the missing one.

Don’t forget!!! Every storage has a specific number of containers with components, calculated for the production’s needs. In our example, every shelf contains 3 containers, not more or less. When remains just 2 containers, it must be refilled otherwise the production, will run out of the products, and the production will stop. A very common example is the self-facing shelves in the supermarket. I think all of us have already noticed this new type of shelves, when you take the first product, the remaining products from behind it, are pushed in the front, to replace the missing one. This is how the supermarket assures the products stay organized, and they will not expire, because it’s is 100% sure, that you will take the first product on the shelf, with the earliest expiration date.

The third example, I’m sure everybody knows it whoever used a washing machine. Different colors and types of material, we know already, it’s not OK to wash together, so we sort the clothes in categories like white, black, mixed, very dirty, wool, synthetic, etc.When the basket is full, you know it means, that is time to wash, and you just throw the clothes into the machine and that’s it. You save time organizing the clothes by categories and in the end, you will not end with a T-Shirt in 3 colors (you know what I’m talking about, once in a life, it happens with everybody).

On the image below, you can see a smart solution for an automatic order. When somebody takes a box from the shelf the sensor sends a signal to the computer for an order to complete the shelf.

Implementing Kanban System in single bin/ two bins

Single Bin: one type is a 2 colored bin for small components, to indicate the low inventory, and another type is with cardboard divider, for longer pieces to prevent stock-out.

Two-Bin Kanban: when a bin is empty the operator turns it backwards, placing on the Kanban card or under for inventory.

How does it look like a Kanban Card?

Editable Kanban Card templates you can find right here.

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