The kanban method is all about lean manufacturing. Though it was originally used for product manufacturing, the same philosophy can be applied to all types of businesses. It supports running a production system from start to finish, and you can use it to streamline your projects, tasks, or product creation throughout every process. Under the kanban method, collaboration and teamwork are valued above all else. While kanban is being implemented at businesses around the world, how do you know if it’s right for your business? Keep reading to learn more about the kanban method and if it’s right for your business!
The History of Kanban
Kanban is a system that originated in Japan. The name itself means billboard in Japanese, and it’s essentially a scheduling system that resembles a signboard. It first was used by a designer at Toyota to increase manufacturing efficiency. The system itself is adapted from the track production of a factory. Now, kanban is used in all industries, not just automotive production.
The main goal of kanban is to stop the creation of more inventory than is needed. Likewise, it also limits the excessive waste of product and materials. Under the kanban system, the company does not begin production until demand has been established. The kanban method is about more than just production. It’s about always looking for ways to improve productivity!
Using the Kanban Method
The backbone of the kanban method is the kanban board. You can easily visualize this board for yourself, and it forms the foundation of this productive method. Under the kanban method, you divide a board into 3 columns, each representing a stage of the workflow process. The 3 columns are requested, in progress, and done. The request column is filled with work that has been requested that needs to be done. The in progress column is for what is currently in action or currently in production. Finally, the done column is for completed projects or products.
So what makes the kanban method different? One of the key components is limiting what’s featured in the progress column. The point is to focus on only a few tasks or projects at once, not everything that’s in the requested column. This helps keep teams from feeling overworked and overwhelmed. As soon as a project or task moves from in progress to done, another high-priority task can move from the requested column. Under this method, it’s easy to see where there are existing problems in your system. You’ll learn about collaborative processes between teams and the growth of your requested projects.
Is Kanban Right for Your Business?
Now that you understand the kanban method, it’s time to discuss if it’s right for your business. While the kanban method is valuable for planning complex tasks and projects, it might not be the right choice for your business. Ask yourself if your business struggles with any of the following:
- Low levels of production
- Employee overwhelm or burn out
- Lack of collaboration between teams
- Failure to meet deadlines
If your business is struggling with anything on the list above, the kanban method might be a smart choice for you. By streamlining production to only the most important in-progress projects, you limit waste and unnecessary resources. Your employees will be better able to meet new challenges and perform at their highest level. This is good new to your clients or customers who expect deadlines to be met and a certain level of service or value.
The kanban method is here to stay and with good reason. Having a kanban board of your own is a great way to learn more about the success of your production strategy. It’s good to always find new ways to improve. Are you ready to embrace the kanban method and it’s ever-improving philosophy?