Browse Definitions :
Definition

kanban

Kanban is a visual system used to manage and keep track of work as it moves through a process. The word kanban is Japanese and roughly translated means "card you can see."

Toyota introduced and refined the use of kanban in a relay system to standardize the flow of parts in their just-in-time (JIT) production lines in the 1950s. The approach, was inspired by Toyota studying supermarkets in the UK, gaining the idea of applying the techniques used in shelf-stocking to the factory floor. Toyota saw that store shelves were stocked with just enough product to meet consumer demand and inventory, and would only be restocked when there was a visual signal -- in this case, an empty space on the shelf. In 1953, Toyota began applying this approach to their main machine shop. Kanban later became a visual system in order to track work through production.

Kanban can come in the form of a traditional setup -- with physical signals in the form of a tag or labels -- or as eKanban, meaning electronic kanban.

How kanban works

In manufacturing, kanban starts with the customer's order and follows production downstream. At its simplest, kanban is a card with an inventory number that’s attached to a part. Right before the part is installed, the kanban card is detached and sent up the supply chain as a request for another part. In a lean production environment, a part is only manufactured (or ordered) if there is a kanban card for it. Because all requests for parts are pulled from the order, kanban is sometimes referred to as a "pull system."

There are six generally accepted rules for kanban:

  1. Downstream processes may only withdraw items in the precise amounts specified on the kanban.
  2. Upstream processes may only send items downstream in the precise amounts and sequences specified by the kanban.
  3. No items are made or moved without a kanban.
  4. A kanban must accompany each item at all times.
  5. Defects and incorrect amounts are never sent to the next downstream process.
  6. The number of kanban should be monitored carefully to reveal problems and opportunities for improvement.

The concept of providing visual clues to reduce unnecessary inventory has also been applied to agile software development. In this context, the inventory is development work-in-progress (WIP) and new work can only be added when there is an "empty space" on the team's task visualization board.

Kanban boards

A kanban board is a similar looking display to ta value stream map. Using a kanban board, a development team can track and create reports on the flow of work, including what adds value and what doesn’t.

For each step outlined in the top row of the board, the team must determine average cycle time -- the amount of time it takes to do the work of that stage -- and the non-value-add waiting periods between steps. When programmers complete a task in progress, they will move the card to the waiting stage, then the next task after that.

Example Kanban board
A Kanban board shows work in various stages.
This was last updated in August 2020

Continue Reading About kanban

Networking
  • SD-WAN security

    SD-WAN security refers to the practices, protocols and technologies protecting data and resources transmitted across ...

  • net neutrality

    Net neutrality is the concept of an open, equal internet for everyone, regardless of content consumed or the device, application ...

  • network scanning

    Network scanning is a procedure for identifying active devices on a network by employing a feature or features in the network ...

Security
  • cloud penetration testing

    Cloud penetration testing is a tactic an organization uses to assess its cloud security effectiveness by attempting to evade its ...

  • cloud workload protection platform (CWPP)

    A cloud workload protection platform (CWPP) is a security tool designed to protect workloads that run on premises, in the cloud ...

  • out-of-band authentication

    Out-of-band authentication is a type of two-factor authentication (2FA) that requires a secondary verification method through a ...

CIO
  • strategic management

    Strategic management is the ongoing planning, monitoring, analysis and assessment of all necessities an organization needs to ...

  • IT budget

    IT budget is the amount of money spent on an organization's information technology systems and services. It includes compensation...

  • project scope

    Project scope is the part of project planning that involves determining and documenting a list of specific project goals, ...

HRSoftware
  • director of employee engagement

    Director of employee engagement is one of the job titles for a human resources (HR) manager who is responsible for an ...

  • digital HR

    Digital HR is the digital transformation of HR services and processes through the use of social, mobile, analytics and cloud (...

  • employee onboarding and offboarding

    Employee onboarding involves all the steps needed to get a new employee successfully deployed and productive, while offboarding ...

Customer Experience
  • chatbot

    A chatbot is a software or computer program that simulates human conversation or "chatter" through text or voice interactions.

  • martech (marketing technology)

    Martech (marketing technology) refers to the integration of software tools, platforms, and applications designed to streamline ...

  • transactional marketing

    Transactional marketing is a business strategy that focuses on single, point-of-sale transactions.

Close