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A scheduling system indicating how many goods one must produce in a given period of time, how one must produce them, and by when they must be completed. It developed in Japan as a means to achieve just-in-time inventory control.
kanbana Japanese term meaning ‘card’. It is used to describe part of the control mechanism for JUST-IN-TIME (JIT) and is at the centre of all JIT operations. A kanban is used to authorize the previous stage of production to make components. As such the system operates as a pull mechanism. A kanban system, to work successfully, should operate within the following conditions.
- A relatively stable demand pattern, with probably no more than 10% variation either side of the average.
- QUALITY is imperative, defects for components in the system must be at a minimum. This is because kanbans normally work at preset component levels.
- Good operator motivation. This is essential because a kanban is essentially a short-term, minute by minute inventory control mechanism. The simplest kanban is known as the kanban square. Here a square card (hence the name) is placed between two workstations. When the square is full (to a preset level) work at the previous station stops. When work is pulled from the square by the next operation (hence the alternative term ‘pull-system’) then work at the previous operation may start again. Kanbans exist in a number of variations, as stationary points attached to a work centre or as cards attached to an inventory bin, the principal remains the same however. See LEAN MANUFACTURING.