You may have heard of a system that’s become the heart of many manufacturing workflow processes: Kanban. The Kanban workflow system was developed by an industrial engineer at Toyota in the 1940s. Since then, the concept has helped many manufacturers streamline their production and inventory processes.
Kanban Keeps You Productive
Kanban means “billboard” in Japanese. The Kanban workflow system is a simple, visual scheduling system that allows manufacturers to see at a glance what, when, and how much to produce. Manufacturers use the system to manage work and inventory at every stage of the value chain, from manufacturer to end consumer.
Companies use Kanban to avoid overproducing and overstocking products. It also helps avoid bottlenecks in the production process. Kanban workflows require constant monitoring, which is why several tech companies have developed software to help companies manage their Kanban process.
Implementing Kanban to Improve Your Workflow
If you’re considering implementing a Kanban system at your company, here are some tips for making the transition go smoothly.
- Get team buy-in first. Take the time to explain to your staff why you’re implementing a Kanban workflow process. Explain that everyone’s roles and responsibilities will remain the same, and that the team will work together to implement the changes.
- Implement Kanban elements gradually. Do not make sweeping changes to your current workflow process. Instead, make small, incremental adjustments in your workflow to align it with Kanban principles. This will give your team time to learn and adjust to the new process.
- Encourage your team to take ownership. Since Kanban affects your production process from beginning to end, it gives your team members many opportunities to take initiative. Encourage everyone to reflect on how your Kanban process is being implemented and suggest improvements.
Integrate Your Kanban Process with Your Outsourced Partners
One of the wonderful things about Kanban is that it’s incredibly versatile. You can integrate across your in-house processes and with your outsourced partners, too. If you use a third party to manage your inventory, your Kanban process can integrate with their just-in-time systems to eliminate overstocking and backorders.
Did you know that Packaging Plus can help you manage your inventory? Our just-in-time system integrates with your workflow and material requirements planning system to pull orders right when you need them. Contact us today to get help managing your inventory.