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What is Kanban?

03 February, 2023

Do you know what Kanban is? No, it's not a new kind of bonbon. Kanban is a lean manufacturing tool for producing things in a very efficient way. Kanban is the Japanese word for "sign."

Kanbans are signs used to schedule and track production from inventory to manufacturing and delivery. The simplest Kanban system includes three stages: To Do, Doing, and Done. Here's how it works. Let's say we're manufacturing those bonbons. Our "To-Do" Kanbans are inventory supply. Our "Doing" Kanbans are mixing and baking. And our "Done" Kanbans are packaging and shipping.

As we ship cases of bonbons from our "Done" column, we pull "Doing" Kanbans to the right because we need to bake more. Because we're baking more, we need more supplies including the cute little sprinkles on top. So we pull a "To-Do" Kanban to the right. Now it's time to order more supplies. Thanks to Kanban we're only buying and baking what we need to fill orders. No excess inventory and no stale bonbons.

For a more in-depth article about Kanban, it's tenants and primary principles, give our What Is Kanban article a read or download our free Kanban Best Practice Guide today!