Material and information flow in the process

Kanban system

Establishment of controlled inventories, clear signals; classically the regulation of the relationship between the warehouse and production, the simplification of information flow, and material movement on demand between the workstations.

Kanban polc, pick upThe aim of the introduction of the Kanban (sign, signal) system is the regulation of the flow: the production logistical clarification of the questions of When? Where? How many?

On the basis of the above, Kanban is most of all a material and information flow system regulated on the basis of clear and simple signals. In this system, considering its function, it is a physical carrier and sign; at the same time it is a basic Lean tool preventing overproduction. Its aim is to minimize production lot sizes (Kanban items) and to ensure the continuous flow of materials, parts.

The implementation of a Kanban system is needed if you encounter

  • High raw material and semi-finished product levels
  • Long and uncoordinated material flow paths
  • Many parts returned to the warehouse
  • Raw materials not delivered to the workstation in time
  • Raw materials not delivered in the right quantity

Kanban érkeztető területThe recurring problems of material and information flow, as well as inventory and raw material management: „the basic warehouse vs. production situation". General deficiencies in material handling, for which the solution is usually high levels of semi-finished products and raw materials.

Potential results:

Material supply lead time: - 50–90%
Raw material and semifinish goods inventory: - 60–80%
Autonome material supply system with quick response on faults
Pull system based on FIFO principle



Main fields of effect of KanbanCourse of a Kanban event Additional Lean tools
Raw material inventories
  1. Customer - supplier data
Product mix, product matrix
Material flow system
  1. Kanban cycles
Basic lean, Kanban principles
Material availability
  1. Kanban rules
Basic lean, Kanban principles
Production area, space utilization
  1. Calculation of Kanban quantities
Kanban formulas
Scope of responsibilities, communication
  1. Establishment of the material flow path
VSM, spaghetti diagram
Lead time
  1. Physical implementation (cards, boxes)
Basic 6S principles
Material movement, handling
  1. Training of workers
Standard processes
Information flow
  1. Kanban live



It is not a solution in itself - but it makes the problems visible

With low volume high mix it cannot be used in every case

The Kanban calculations have to be constantly updated

An internal raw material Kanban will not solve external problems

Kanban cards shall be treated as valuables, otherwise the system will not work in the long term

Efficient application requires training, supervision

Does not require more work then a classic material system but may means different distribution between warehouse and production


Misconceptions about the applications of Kanban:


  • what does it not solve?
  • what resources does it require?
  • when is it not worth using?


Related Lean tools:

Standard Work, 6S, VSA, Cell building


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