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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 plates, More »
Kanban As A Learning Strategy
By: Michael Ballé, Jacques Chaize, Orest (Orry) Fiume and Daniel T. Jones | March 22, 2019
Columns
Toyota’s Kanban legacy—and its underlying ideas—have far more direct lineage with today’s digital economy than most folks realize; and capture the core elements of the disruptive lean strategy fueling many of today’s successes. More »
Back-to-School Lean: Lunchbox Kanban
By: Deborah McGee | September 7, 2017
Columns
Lean thinking is just as impactful on the home front as it is at work. In honor of back-to-school season, LEI Learning Activities Manager Deb McGee shares her experimentations and learnings from transferring the work to the front line, freeing up time and building capability through lean thinking and practice -- her family's lunchbox kanban! More »
Advice from the Gemba: Personal Kanbans for Lean Beginners
By: James Connolly, Cameron DiGregorio and Kristen Gandek | May 25, 2017
Columns
Kanban boards. For many of us, they were the first visual management tools we used that taught us the benefits of lean. They're simple, effective and easily customizable to suit your own unique work and challenges. Today, three of LEI's relative newcomers to lean share their own personal kanban boards and the impact they've had on their work. More »
Faster than a Speeding Kanban...
By: Brent Wahba | April 12, 2017
Columns
"All of us living in Leanworld are well-trained to look for problems, identify gaps, and cure root causes," writes Brent Wahba. But if that's true, why does lean so often fail? Could it be that we often undermine our efforts by trying to be superheroes, trying to fix all our problems in one go? Brent explores. More »
Six Personal Kanban Habits to Avoid
By: Jim Benson | January 12, 2017
Columns
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
Columns
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 »
Triangle Kanban Calculations
By: Smalley, Art | March 11, 2004
Presentations
This presentation by Toyota veteran Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull, shows how to schedule batch production using triangle kanbans. More »
Mapping your Work, Navigating Life: Personal Kanban
Workshops
In this one-day immersive experience we will explore the impact of overload on both the individual and the team; politics and "work-arounds" that start quietly and quickly morph into unwritten rules; and smooth work-, information-, and communication-flows that can lead to happier, less stressed, and more effective teams. More »
Continuous Improvement Using Personal Kanban
Workshops
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 »
"But TPS Doesn't Apply to Us...."
By: Mark Graban | March 25, 2019
Columns
Yes, cars are not weaving looms. Patients are not cars, either. Airplanes are not cars. Electric vehicles are not the same as internal-combustion engine vehicles. We can play that “one of these things is not like the other” game all day long. A better use of time, perhaps, is to think about how TPS concepts and high-level Lean management principles can be adapted to your own setting, argues Mark Graban. More »
Designed In Quality
By: Jim Morgan | March 19, 2019
Columns
Extraordinary quality is not only designed into the product, it is designed into the development process itself, says Jim Morgan, who suggests that the next time you might be tempted to minimize Toyota’s quality performance, you will think about how Toyota’s principles and practices might help you design-in better quality in your products and processes. More »
Can Smart Manufacturing Replace the Art of Go and See?
By: David Westphal | March 18, 2019
Columns
Continuous improvement in a manufacturing environment has to happen at the spot where the work took place, shares Dave Westphal, whose mentor, Mr. Harada, once said: “No improvement can be made in the office.  ..  One must go to the job to see what is really happening—to see, to touch, and to investigate the problem first hand.  ” More »
How Accounting “Squirrels” Can Ferret Out Waste
By: Jean Cunningham | March 15, 2019
Columns
While other functions are busy as beavers looking for waste during a lean transformation, your accounting staff is like a squirrel with its head stuck in a yogurt cup. They only see the traditional work right in front of them instead of digging into data for buried “nuts” of waste, says Jean Cunningham, LEI’s new executive chairman. More »
Ask Art: Aren’t You a Little “Old School” in Your Kaizen Approach To Implementing Lean Thinking?
By: Art Byrne | March 13, 2019
Columns
When you say “kaizen is old school” you may be seriously off track, argues Art Byrne. Focusing on tools like A3 might be popular and trendy, but companies that focus on tools have a hard time getting out of the tools stage of lean; and rarely become lean enterprises. They are taking the easy way out. More »
Showing Respect: Here's How Emmanuel Proposed A More Reliable Shipping Rack
By: Joel Daly | March 11, 2019
Columns
As I reflect on Emmanuel's proposed countermeasures to a key problem, I am encouraged with every new discovery, says General Manager Joel Daly of Veada. I need to get past the gulping and dread associated with someone responsibly reporting a problem to me, and instead embrace the opportunity therein. More »
Is Your Strategy a Plan--or a Hypothesis?
By: Amy C. Edmondson | March 8, 2019
Columns
Success in a VUCA world requires senior executives to engage thoughtfully and frequently with company operations across all levels and departments, argues HBS Professor Amy Edmondson. The people on the front line who create and deliver products and services are privy to the most important strategic data the company has available. More »
Going Beyond Low-Cost Obsession with "Women Go Beyond"
By: Mahesh Amalean | March 6, 2019
Columns
Hear the chairman and co-founder of an apparel manufacturer with global operations explain how and why it invests in its largely female workforce while also dealing with the challenges of a highly competitive industry obsessed with low-cost operations. More »
Learning to Help Anna Elevate Her Game
By: Jeff Smith | March 4, 2019
Columns
Anna was trained by NUMMI to identify and solve challenges via experiments with her team, notes Jeff Smith, sharing a story from NUMMI; she had been trained to set up jobs, build racks for parts, and more.  Yet evidently what she needed to resolve the issue at hand was a little practical understanding/physical help and space to think while being relaxed and not emotionally wound up. More »
No Mani Pedi, But Keepers Improve Elephant Foot Washing
By: Jeff Foster | March 1, 2019
Columns
Supporting process owners includes stepping in for zoo keepers when their better idea for washing an elephant’s foot gets rejected as this Lean Talks video explains. More »
Lean Without Limits
By: Renée Smith | February 27, 2019
Columns
We come up with many different types of answers that sort Lean conveniently into categories for easy understanding and storage, says Renee Smith; but what if we were to embrace Lean as a human centered philosophy, the biggest category of all? More »
The Road to Becoming a Lean Leadership Team Has Potholes
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | February 25, 2019
Columns
Lean veteran Orry Fiume shares the story how the leadership team at The Wiremold Company took on the challenging work of transitioning from being traditional, functional, independent executives to becoming a Lean leadership team. More »
Why We Believe that Lean is About Changing Our Own Behaviors, and Not Just Accumulating New Knowledge
By: Lean Sensei Women | February 22, 2019
Columns
Lean repeatedly pushes us to develop new competences (or recover lost know-hows) through kaizen and problem solving. This collection of short articles from seven leading lean sensei women from around the world expand on this topic, arguing that Lean requires a major shift in our behaviors. More »
Why Meaningful Improvement Requires a “Growth Mindset”
By: Katrina Appell | February 21, 2019
Columns
Today is Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, part of Engineering Week, Feb. 18 to 23. To mark Girl Day, as it is simply called, we’re re-posting a popular article by Katrina Appell, PhD, explaining how the mindsets of leaders affect the bureaucracies they lead. More »
Pi-Day, Robots, and the Joy of Making Things
By: Jim Morgan and Mary Morgan | February 18, 2019
Columns
To mark Engineers Week, Feb. 18-23, we’re reprising a story about celebrating Pi Day by Jim and Mary Morgan, a self-described “geek couple.  ” And we’re offering 25% off on Jim’s new book, Designing the Future. Read the story to get the discount code. More »
A Small Amount of Time Can Yield Big Results
By: Jean Cunningham | February 15, 2019
Columns
Four minutes, well focused, can be a long time, notes Jean Cunningham. Without competing distractions, many words can be spoken, absorption of new info happens, and a good deal can be accomplished. We found we actually got more done by getting clear on our focus and our timeframe. More »
Good Night Sweethearts
By: Bruce Hamilton | February 14, 2019
Columns
On this Valentine's Day, GBMP President Bruce Hamilton laments this year's lack of Sweetheart Candies, reflecting that, "NECCO, like General Motors had failed to understand what Shigeo Shingo called 'the most basic concept in the Toyota Production System,' the cost subtraction principle. More »
4 Actions that Solved My Lean Management Identity Crisis
By: Mike Orzen | February 13, 2019
Columns
Mike Orzen had lean management down cold – or so he thought. After all, he makes a living teaching it to managers and executives. But when he personally used a lean tool such as an A3 report, he’d catch himself distractedly going through the steps then jumping ahead to a preconceived countermeasure. Watch his candid account of what he did to refocus his mind when applying lean principles. More »
Flaatnes Elektro-Mek Reveals How Double Loop Learning Supports Lean Thinking and Practice
By: Daryl Powell and Eivind Reke | February 11, 2019
Columns
Every experience is a learning experience. However, we tend to only experience single-loop learning where we reaffirm what we already think is true. Lean gives us a framework to challenge our beliefs and assumptions and create double-loop learning situations through concrete experiments, and often real-time feedback from the real world. More »
Ask Art: How Should I Re-invest the Gains from Kaizen?
By: Art Byrne | February 8, 2019
Columns
Becoming lean through using kaizen activity allows you to remove a great deal of waste and deliver value to your customers, shares Art Byrne. If you do the right things with the excess resources you free up, you can then leverage your gains far more dramatically. Don’t waste the gains. More »
What If Elon Musk Took Manufacturing Cars Seriously?
By: Jeffrey Liker | February 6, 2019
Columns
Jeff Liker asks of Tesla: What if it took Toyota’s help seriously in learning basic manufacturing before undertaking disruptive technology change? What if Tesla built in quality and did not have to rebuild most Model 3s to get quality right? What if Tesla took manufacturing and logistics seriously and was as good at execution as it was at product ideation? More »
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