Kanban for Manufacturing Firms: A New System That Speeds up Work Flow for Clients

How the Kanban System Improves the Work Flow in Various Manufacturing Firms

When you utilize Kanban for manufacturing on their production lines, they can align their inventory levels with the consumer’s requirements. While communicating in the factory and ordering more products from the inventory, the workers can pass a card between the various teams. Nowadays the term is popular in the software development, automobile and manufacturing sectors. Manufacturers rely on the systems when it comes to controlling the work in progress (WIP) on every production line. Manufacturers also use the systems to make any product that the customers require, from automobiles, and processed foods to delivery engineered projects.

Why manufacturers use this system
Kanban is a revolutionary project management system that enables the team to visualize a task beforehand and develop a reliable program of works. Today, it is possible for people on every production line to monitor the progress of every activity and respond appropriately. The ability to monitor such progress and give the appropriate feedback to every player in the production line fosters teamwork and improves the rate of production.

The system is easy to understand
The boards are quite simple and easy to use, even for the newbies. These boards are instrumental when it comes to restructuring and improving the communication and collaboration on the factory. Thousands of factories across the globe rely on the revolutionary system to boost their teamwork and increase the efficiency at the production line. Such facets are the key elements in the fabrication process as most factories are looking to increase their revenue without hurting the bottom line. The systems allow the manufacturers to simplify the complex processes for every employee to understand. From the simple assembly tasks to the special production and management techniques, this system can change how various industries carry out their daily activities. These innovative boards have also increased the efficiency in all the production processes in the following ways:

• Such systems are quite easy to set up, understand, and utilize
• These systems come with a vast array of flexible formats that outline the various tasks in terms of priority
• The cards come in several colors, each with its inherent meaning, and they can signify the various materials and tasks
• Some cards are printable, and you can customize them to show the job numbers
• There are plenty of large and small boards that you can customize for various applications

Agile Project Delivery
This is a revolutionary framework originally used by a broad range of software teams that deal with software development. This framework is prominent in most of the current agile software companies. This program has also transformed the automobile industry. In the 1940s, Toyota started to optimize its fabrication processes by borrowing from a model that shopping malls use to stock their shelves. Supermarkets always stock enough products to satisfy the consumer demands, and this practice optimizes the smooth flow between the mall and the consumers. Because the various inventory offices always match the consumption patterns, it is easy for the supermarket to gain efficiency in the management of the inventory. By reducing the excess stock, the shopping malls and supermarkets optimize the available shelve space. In this similar manner, Kanban for Manufacturing can be implemented to ensure that workflow is always maintained in a manner that keeps everyone working on relevant activities instead of losing focus on un-necessary work.

How the system works
The cards are stored in a bin where the production department can access easily. Once the production team collects these cards, they can pass them to the warehouse and describe the material in question and the exact amount. The warehouse sends the materials to the factory after ordering these products from the supplier. This system ensures that the fabricators only focus on manufacturing the items that the consumers require. This technology is known as the “just in time” (JIT) process, which has become popular in the automobile assembly sector for decades.

How Kanban for manufacturing teams works
Manufacturing project delivery professionals can leverage the JIT principles by aligning the work in progress (WIP) to the team’s abilities. By matching the production to the demand, the team gets more planning options that are not only faster, but also flexible. In addition, there is increased output, more transparency, and clearer focus throughout the production cycle.

Operate with minimal capital
While the underlying principles of the structure apply to any industry, the project delivery teams have enjoyed immense success in with this technology. In addition, manufacturing project delivery teams can start to practice with minimal capital once they comprehend the basic principles. However, executing the system on the factory would require some changes to the physical processes as well as the addition of raw materials as required. In the manufacturing industry, the physical items are minimal, and they include boards and cards. With the modern technology, even the cards and boards can be virtual.

The benefits of this methodology
Due to the following advantages of these boards, this system has become one of the best project delivery tools among a vast array of manufacturers today:

Optimizing the work flow with these boards
Prioritizing the crucial tasks and relaying such information to every member of the team improves the efficiency and team spirit. Everyone understands the most important tasks and the level of completion or status of the task are clear for everyone to see. In addition to handling the fabrication and assembly tasks, the boards can also help in the packaging, distribution, and inventory.

Every team depends on the revolutionary system since each activity revolves around this tool when it comes to visualizing the work and optimizing the flow of the various tasks. While the physical boards are equally popular in a vast array of teams, the virtual boards are popular for their accessibility, easier collaboration, in any manufacturing activity.

Warning Kanban Calendar datesPrioritizing the important tasks
Regardless of whether you prefer the digital or physical board, the goal is to visualize the tasks and optimize the team’s work flow to your needs. With these boards, it is quite easy to identify the most important tasks and create a timeline that prioritizes them. As you plan your work, the program enables you to anticipate the problems beforehand, visualize the ideal solutions, and take the necessary steps to ensure that everything goes according to the plan. A basic board has three main steps that help you to optimize the program. These steps come in the form of to-do lists, work in progress, and completed tasks. However, depending on the size of your team, you can tweak the structure and align your objectives with the tasks. A well-optimized program is the key to achieving your goals in the shortest time possible. The schedule can also be modified to satisfy the unique objectives of your company. The system relies on ease of communication within your team and the ability to track the progress of every activity. The board provides a framework that allows every member of the team to track the activities in every department.

Avoid falling behind the schedule
Therefore, this board is a visual sign that allows the project management department to foster collaboration in the production sector and achieve better results. The main goal of representing the various activities as cards on the board is to enable every member of the team to track the progress of every activity and avoid the delays that might cause the production process to stall. By avoiding the possibility of stalling the activities on the critical path, it is easy to finish the work before the schedule. The cards convey the critical data about the various activities, giving your team accurate information about the managers who undertake several responsibilities. You can also get a brief description of every job in progress as well as the level of completion. In addition, there is sufficient data on every work in progress, the estimated time of completion, and so on.

The various cards on the virtual boards will also feature the screenshots and lots of technical instructions that provide some guidance to the assignee. Allowing the various team members to monitor the progress of every activity at any time, and the requisite details improve the focus, dependency, and teamwork.

Modifications in the backlog
While a company carries out several activities on a daily basis, the team only focuses on the work in progress. Once your team completes a particular task, the work item is transferred to the “done” category. The next step involves picking the subsequent task in the to-do-list and entering it into the “work in progress” category.

The flexibility of the virtual system
The flexibility of this system allows the manager to make the necessary changes and prioritize the key tasks in the backlog without confusing the team since the changes in the to-do-list do not affect the current activities. As long as the manager keeps the critical activities on the top of the log, the development team can deliver the more value to your business. As such, there is no need to overwhelm your team with lengthy schedules that can take their toll on the mental and physical strength.

Savvy project managers always engage the team leaders when making the modifications to the backlog to help them to anticipate the subsequent tasks. For example, if the sixth item in the to-do list becomes a priority, it moves to the first position. However, such a change initiates other changes in the backlog. It is always important to confirm the changes with the entire engineering team to make sure that there are no surprises.

Kanban for Manufacturing FirmsShortening the cycle times
The management team estimates the estimated time of completion by determining the cycle time. Cycle time is defined as the total amount of time a single unit takes to travel through the cycle from start to finish. It is, therefore, important to foster continuous improvement and optimize the cycle time if you are looking to forecast the time of delivery. By analyzing the cycle time, it is possible to establish whether your team will meet the stipulated deadlines beforehand. If you realize that a strenuous job will take more time that you had anticipated from the start, a project manager can help you to expedite such an activity significantly.

Overlapping the tasks
The activities on the critical must be completed before the subsequent tasks begin. However, there are some activities that can proceed concurrently. Overlapping such activities also helps you to shorten the cycle times and do more with less. Overlapping helps to create smaller cycles. However, you might be unable to overlap these activities if one person has the skills you need to undertake the job. If the task is critical, you can eliminate the bottlenecks by outsourcing the personnel you need on a temporary basis. If you realize that you will require such skills for a long time, you might decide to hire such people permanently. In addition, you might also decide to train your personnel if you are looking to foster continuous improvement at an affordable rate in future.

Creating a heterogeneous team
Sharing the skills in such a setting helps people to learn on the job through an apprenticeship. However, in some cases, mistakes can be costly. As a result, you can assign the easier tasks to the apprentices to avoid problems with your clients. By sharing the skills through training, it is possible to create a diverse and heterogeneous team that can carry out a vast array of task perfectly. In the end, you will not struggle to meet the deadlines since the reduced cycle times enable you to reduce the cycle times without the hassle.

Expediting the critical tasks through collaboration
Another benefit of introducing the diversity in your production team is the ability to make the entire team swarm on the tasks that are falling behind the schedule. By so doing, you will ensure that no tasks on the critical path delay every other activity in your backlog. In the project delivery department, the installers and integrators can team up with the project managers to make the necessary preparations for delivery of the product or project to the client. In a typical framework, it is the entire team’s responsibility to ensure work is moving smoothly throughout the process.