A kanban card is small card containing information about how to replenish a specific part used in production. It is a signal that tells someone upstream to move, purchase, or build more of a component for production.
A kanban card must contain the number of units (items, pounds, kits, etc.) that need action. It also likely contains a variety of other information that clearly conveys what must be done.
A kanban card often has a place to write the date it was turned in, or ‘dropped’, and when it is due. The second date is calculated by adding the lead time to the turn-in date.
(See our kanban term for a more detailed explanation about the system in general. This entry focuses on the cards themselves.)
If you like our forms & tools, please help us spread the word about them!
While the specific information contained on a kanban card can vary, most will contain at least some of the following information:
A kanban card is often fixed to a container, effectively turning the bin or cart itslef into a kanban. In other cases, a kanban card is simply laminated and temporarily attached to shelves of bins with hook and pile fasteners.
Kanban cards should be managed by a documented process. For example, the process should clarify where to ‘drop’ the cards, whether to drop them when the first item is drawn or when the bin is empty, and what to do with the cards once an order is placed.
There are a variety of formulas used to determine the quantity shown on a kanban card. In a nutshell, the math is designed to make sure that you still have parts available, but only a minimal number, when the next order arrives. The calculations factor in minimum order quantities, pack sizes, lead time, and in some cases, even vendor reliability. Some formulas use sophisticated statistics and historical order information. Others are much less sophisticated and use a simple calculation with an added safety stock.
Kanban cards will make your life easier, even though there is something new to deal with in your job. Because they are right where the parts are, they make problems highly apparent. Computerized material management systems are only as good as the information reported to them. Having the cards right at the point of use highlights issues. This, however, means that you have to understand the system and have to take action when you recognize a problem.
There is a benefit that comes with this extra work, though. You will face fewer stock outs, and will have an easier time getting the materials you need to do your job.
Kanban systems are effective, but they are not easy. You’ll have to spend the time to create a process to manage your kanban cards. You’ll have to designate an area to produce the cards to meet the continuous need for new ones. You’ll need to provide the materials to make the cards.
Most of all, you’ll need to provide the leadership and industrial discipline to keep the system operating smoothly.
Any visitor to this site can download guest versions of our forms.
We are sorry. Due to the nature of this form or tool, no guest version is offered.
© 2009-2014 by Velaction Continuous Improvement, LLC. All rights reserved.
|Download FREE Lean Training Now!|
NOTE: You will receive a confirmation email with a link that you'll have to click to activate your subscription. Once complete, you'll have access to your free downloads.
We promise never to sell, rent, trade, or share your email with any other organization!