Using Kanban Tools

Before deciding on the type of tool that you want to help with your production needs, it is important to know exactly what the word “Kanban” actually means. This is a word that is used to describe a production management process first used in Japan that utilizes “cards” or “indicators” to tell companies when to do something. An example would be a specific number of units being selected as an indicator for when more units need to be produced. When this number of units is reached in inventory, then more units will be produced. This helps to keep inventory levels lower than they have to be and costs down, right in line with other lean manufacturing techniques.

Needless to say, with companies producing millions of units of materials, having this system in place is extremely important, and having a tool to manage this system is even more important. These tools can be linked right to the regular ERP system or any other system that your company uses, and in doing so the system is able to actively monitor where you are in your production cycle.

This is accomplished all through the use of electronic Kanban cards and Kanban tables, which are accessible to all of your team members and any members of management who need to know where you are on your production cycle. When each triggering indicator is hit, the system shows it on the Kanban tables and you will know that you have to start the next part of the process, whether that is further production, ordering of new materials, or the moving of inventory from one storehouse to another. The cards that are used by this software system can be customized to your company’s needs, with several easy to read icons and symbols that let you know which task your team will have to do next.

The Kanban board itself can be integrated with your management system. This board features several different columns of information and indicators on how all of the production stages are progressing. This colorful and useful display can also be customized to show only the information that your company finds useful. When you need them, visually pleasing reports on progress can be generated and sent to management so they can understand how your team is doing.

Kanban tools can be some of the most useful software tools for a project manager, production teams, or management in general. They take the lean manufacturing techniques that have been tested for decades and put them into a simple, useful, and visually pleasing display.