What is Kanban in 5 Steps according to Process Excellence.

What is Kanban in 5 Steps


In this article, you will learn what is Kanban according to Process Excellence and Lean Manufacturing.

Kanban Meaning

Kanban is a scheduling system used during lean and just-in-time manufacturing.

Kanban is an inventory-control system to manage the supply chain.

Kanban can be implemented in five steps. The steps are:

  1. Map Your Current Workflow. Understand your current workflow to simply and stabilize it.
  2. Visualize Your Work – Eliminate interruptions
  3. Focus and Manage the Flow. Stop pushing new work and start pulling only when there is a demand for it.
  4. Limit your WIP. Determine and establish the Work-in-Process (WIP) limits. Make the process limits explicit.
  5. Measure and Improve – Maintain open feedback loops and Improve collaboratively

Instead of estimating the number of a specific item the market will want (forecast) and producing based on that amount, Kanban produces items in direct relation to the number requested by the market.

System of shelves or trays of components well-identified and organized that serves as a supermarket for dispensing, pick up, and replenishment of materials.

It is an easy and convenient way to supply fast the manufacturing demand of components before the assembly process.

When an assembly item or stocked item begins to run low, an employee takes the item’s reorder card to a manager, who place a replenishment order or buys the needed amount of supplies or components.

The refreshed supplies arrive before the first supply has run out, and production or sales continue without interruption or hindrance.

While reordering slips used to be the norm for requesting more of an item, today computerized cards or empty packaging containers perform the same task. Kanban is a PULL system.

It pulls inventory as it is needed. ERP/MRP is a PUSH system. It pushes inventory into a warehouse for “Safety Stock” to deal with fluctuations in demand from changing forecasts.

In Conclusion

Kanban establishes and maintains a pull system.  It can be applied using:

  • Map your workflow on a Kanban board.
  • Establish a pull system.
  • Limit the amount of work in progress.
  • Break down large assignments into smaller tasks.
  • Apply pull signals to your Kanban board.
  • Manage your bottlenecks, so your flow never gets stuck.

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CIQA is a quality and regulatory consultant with 25 years of experience developing products and managing projects in the medical device supply chain, and pharmaceutical industries. Rest assured of the safety or being in the right hands.

Our Lean Manufacturing team could provide you a broad range of professional expertise implementing these techniques and tools.


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REFERENCES: What is Kanban.



Picture of Ramon Cayuela, MS, BS, Chemical Engineering

Ramon Cayuela, MS, BS, Chemical Engineering

CIQA President and CEO.
I've been working in validation engineering since 1992 with many multinational pharmaceutical companies. I love sharing my passion and knowledge with others. If you have any questions about anything (or just have general questions). I will be more than happy to assist you. You can count on the BEST customer service on CIQA. I go to great lengths to make sure my clients are 100% satisfied with their purchases and check emails/messages consistently throughout the day. You can rest assured that everything being sold here is as-described or your money back. I look forward to working with you!