This Too is a Kanban

This Too is a Kanban by Jon Miller:

The orthodox description of a kanban is a rectangular card in a plastic sleeve used to reorder materials from a supplier or an upstream process, or a triangular metal plate used to signal production for a process that requires changeovers for lot production.

The tile of section 3 of chapter 4 from the first textbook on the Toyota Production System is titled “This Too (is a kanban)”. The author (possibly dictated by Ohno, possibly written by Fujio Cho, it’s not clear) states that as long as the item acts as a visual display and performs certain functions, it can be a kanban. Three examples are given, as summarized below:

Carts can be kanban. When a set number of carts containing a set quantity of parts of a set item is moved between set locations based on set rules, this can be kanban. Simply, when there are a certain number of empty kanban carts, the upstream process takes these and brings them back full…

Very nice. It is important not to fall into habits that confuse the concept with the method. Kanban is a visual display to signal a process (which helps manage the process). A common method is a signal card but kanban is not a signal card. A signal card is the most common implementation of kanban.

Related: Kanban resourcesKanban In Software EngineeringWhat Is Muda?One piece flow (continuous flow)Eliminating Complexity from Work

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