086: K is for Kanban [ABC’s of EYB]

086: K is for Kanban [ABC’s of EYB]

Today, as we continue our ABC’s of Engineering Your Business with the letter K we’re going to focus on the concept of Kanban.

You may never have heard the term before and up until the last ten years or so it only really existed within Lean Manufacturing circles.

It is a Japanese term that actually means signboard or billboard.

The overview of it is that it is a visual system that is in place to try to make sure that you don’t run short of necessary components. But the idea can actually be used anywhere.

How it works in manufacturing is that a kanban system uses cards or triggers when a bin of components is used up or emptied and those cards or triggers alert another part of the system to order more.

If you’ve got screws that you’re using, in a kanban system, you might always have two bins of screws. And when the front bin is used up, before it gets placed back that empty bin is put somewhere that will set off a signal to order more screws.

This can be used anywhere in your organization or business as well.

Maybe for you it’s leveraging the automation in place in a lot of project management tools that will kick off certain steps or events when a task’s status or a condition is changed.

We’ve mentioned waiting before and how it can often be a hidden cause of a lot of waste in companies.

What kanban systems can do is cut down on a lot of that by proactively getting out in front of running out of parts or a bottleneck or stoppage coming on a project and being able to take steps ahead of time to avoid issues.

I’d love to talk more about your specific business and situations and how kanban could be put in place to help you was well. Just shoot me an email at shawn@shawnwashburn.com¬†and let’s start a conversation on this.

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