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From the Lean Lexicon 5th Edition:

Kanban:   A kanban is a signaling device that gives authorization and instructions for the production or withdrawal (conveyance) of items in a pull system. The term is Japanese for “sign” or “signboard.  ” Kanban cards are the best-known and most common example of these signals. They often are slips of card stock, sometimes protected in clear vinyl envelopes, stating information such as part name, part number, external supplier or internal supplying process, pack-out quantity, storage address, and consuming process address. A bar code may be printed on the card for tracking or automatic invoicing. Besides cards, kanban can be triangular metal More »
Articles (33) Show All »
Personal Kanban: You Can’t Manage What You Can’t See
By: Drickhamer, David | November 13, 2015
Learn how to use a personal kanban board to better manage personal and project work, while improving organization, communication, and morale. More »
Not a High-Volume Widget Manufacturer? Lean Still Makes Sense for High-Mix, Low-Volume Production
By: Greg Lane | November 12, 2014
If your organization deals with a wide variety of products that incur fluctuating demand and your customers are ever increasing the product range while demanding shorter lead times, you need to continuously experiment and adapt lean methodologies. But if you’ve read the lean management literature, most of which is based on high-volume production examples, you’ve probably decided lean principles don’t fit. Actually they do. Principals, such as pull production, remain the same, though the methods are adjusted to fit high-mix, low-volume environments. Here’s an example. Let’s assume you have fluctuating demand across a wide range of products, (displayed by the More »
Audio (1)
Forward to Fundamentals Webinar with Jim Womack and John Shook
By: Shook, John; Jim Womack | April 23, 2009
Audio; Videos and Webinars
In recent years, most discussions around lean transformation have understandably evolved toward more managerial and strategic matters. Yet there remains an alarming lack of solid implementation of the fundamentals! In this current economic crisis we can actually move our lean journeys forward faster by looking back to the lessons that led to the creation of TPS in the weakened Japanese economy following World War II. This webinar is designed to uncover the deep roots of the original lean thinking and tools and how you can better focus your own lean implementation plans and execution. This webinar features Jim Womack, Chairman More »
Books (11) Show All »
Lean Lexicon 5th Edition
By: Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc. | January 21, 2014
The fifth edition of the Lexicon, first published in January 2003, is 140 pages, containing 60+ illustrations and 207 key terms from A3 Report to Yokoten. The Lexicon already covers such key lean enterprise terms as jidoka, kanban, kaizen, lean consumption, lean production, lean enterprise, pull production, standardized work, takt time, Toyota Production System, and value-stream mapping. It also has a simple, one-page guide to pronouncing Japanese terms. More »
Lean Lexicon 5th Edition (eBook)
By: Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc. | January 21, 2014
The fifth edition of the Lexicon, first published in January 2003, is 140 pages, containing 60+ illustrations and 207 key terms from A3 Report to Yokoten. The Lexicon already covers such key lean enterprise terms as jidoka, kanban, kaizen, lean consumption, lean production, lean enterprise, pull production, standardized work, takt time, Toyota Production System, and value-stream mapping. It also has a simple, one-page guide to pronouncing Japanese terms. More »
Case Studies (21) Show All »
Following Four Steps to a Lean Material-Handling System Leads to a Leap in Performance
By: Chet Marchwinski | October 21, 2003
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams; Research
The Delphi Delco Electronics facility in Kokomo, IN, followed a methodical four-step implementation process to replace a traditional material-handling system for purchased parts with a lean one. Some of the key steps covered during  implementation  included creating a Plan for Every Part, developing a central purchased parts market, installing precisely timed delivery routes, establishing pull signals, and instituting standard work for the system. More »
Toothbrush Plant Reverses Decay in Competitiveness
By: Chet Marchwinski | December 16, 2004
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams; Images
Faced with competition from plants in China and Mexico, Oral-B's Iowa City plant was slated for closure. But the rapid introduction of a lean system, beginning with just-in-time production and pull, saved it by reducing lead times and inventory to cut costs while augmenting the plant’s advantage in service. More »
Charts, Graphs and Diagrams (1)
The Gold Mine (Charts and Maps)
By: Ballé, Freddy and Michael Ballé | May 9, 2005
Charts, Graphs and Diagrams; Images; Value-Stream Maps
Charts, maps, and illustrations of key concepts and lessons in The Gold Mine: An illustration of the breakers assembled by Phil Jenkinson's company Operator Balance Charts (OBC) Original plant layout STR value-stream map A sketch of how to create a levelled schedule based on takt time An illustration of how increased change-overs and deliveries lead to reduced lead-time Kanban in a heijunka box More »
Columns (41) Show All »
Six Personal Kanban Habits to Avoid
By: Jim Benson | January 12, 2017
Jim Benson, kanban specialist, shares the six most common mistakes found on kanban boards. More »
Personal Kanban: You Can’t Manage What You Can’t See
By: David Drickhamer | November 19, 2015
Think personal kanban can't be applied to knowledge work? Think again. Drawing on examples from Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Berry's book "Personal Kanban: Mapping Work, Navigating Life," David Drickhamer explains how anyone can benefit from personal kanban, regardless of the nature of their work. More »
eLetters (69) Show All »
How can kanban or lean possibly apply in an office?
By: Michael Ballè | October 3, 2016
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, You often say that one can’t do lean without kanban, and that continuous improvement without kanban is fine, but not lean. My team works on projects in an office, I fail to see how kanban  applies. Are we barred from lean forever? More »
If I turn off MRP in favor of kanban, will the factory collapse around us?
By: Ballé, Michael | February 24, 2014
Columns; eLetters
Our sensei wants us to turn off MRP and work with kanban cards. I’m really nervous about this. We’ve been doing a lot of problem solving, but I’m not sure we’re ready. Any insights? More »
Presentations (1)
Triangle Kanban Calculations
By: Smalley, Art | March 11, 2004
This presentation by Toyota veteran Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull, shows how to schedule batch production using triangle kanbans. More »
Workshops (6) Show All »
Continuous Improvement Using Personal Kanban
A simple, effective management system for digging out of work -- and staying dug out -- to achieve higher quality, better productivity, greater job satisfaction, and peace of mind. More »
Online Webcast Key Concepts of Lean in Healthcare
This webcast is designed for individuals and teams working in Healthcare who want to gain a better understanding of the principles, tools, and underlying philosophy of the lean management system. More »