what is kanban ?

Kanban is a word of Japanese origin and its meaning is that of card , signage. The term comes from the use of identification cards used in Japanese companies to request components and other equipment on the same production line, or to indicate the status of the production process, how it is progressing.

Today, however, Kanban is a term that designates a serial manufacturing method developed in Japan by the Toyota company, applied in supply, distribution and production procedures, in line with the principles of the just in time system .

We can say that in the Kanban method it is the demand that will determine the production, that is, the pace of the kanbans or circulating cards is what will determine the pace of production, indicating how much, when and what to produce . And the pace of kanbans will be determined by the outflow of products.

Although originally kanban were physical cards, today the use of electronic kanban , called e-kanban, is more common . Which makes the whole process even faster, agile and efficient.

We can identify the following as the main objectives of the Kanban system : regulate internal fluctuations in demand and production volume in each section, as a way to avoid the amplification of such fluctuations; Decrease fluctuations of a given product in inventory to reduce storage costs; decentralize factory management; produce the required quantities according to need.

Given its characteristics, the Kanban method can only be applied in repetitive production systems, where products follow a pattern and production is relatively stable, making it imperative that the production method be done in series.

The kanban system is generally not applied alone, as over time it has been realized that this type of practice has more effects if applied in conjunction with other systems to increase productivity. So it is not uncommon for it to be implemented in conjunction with systems such as Just in Time , Scrum and Kaizen .


Scrum is an interactive system for increasing productivity and seeking total quality that defines a set of practices and tasks that are taken as the beginning of the development of the execution of a given project, indicated for complex projects where long-term planning is difficult.

just in time

Just in time means the idea that there is a right time for each necessary process to be carried out in the daily life of an enterprise. So there must be a right time to buy, produce, transport, sell and so on. In the business world just in time is a management system that aims to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the production process and service delivery, as well as reduce operating costs.


Kaizen is a system that will improve productivity in all aspects, in addition to lowering production costs. It is a quest for constant improvement aimed at total quality. Every day there should be some improvement, today should always be better than yesterday and tomorrow should be better than today.

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