Congratulation on implementing your kanban system! We hope you are enjoying your gorgeous kanban tags and revelling in this simple visual communication that creates a common understanding and orderly ordering with your parts supply.
But now the weeks and months have flown by and suddenly cracking in your kanban system may begin to appear. And the management may begin to complain “We’ve implemented Kanban and STILL have shortages!” As with every business system, the straying towards entropy is inevitable and it is the audits and checklists that keep the systems in check.
Let’s look at what can go wrong with our kanban system and what we can do about it!
What can go wrong with our kanban system?
- Loose kanban cards
- Make bad parts
- Someone doesn’t send the orders
- Use too many and run out
What can we do to fix our kanban system?
Audit Kanban Cards
Regularly check to make sure all kanban cards are accounted for; if you are missing one, it won’t get ordered and then you will be short of parts when you need them. Good 5S practices will also support your kanban efforts.
Improve your Quality
If parts are being “lost” due to error or rework, then a quality investigation is needed. We expect good parts and we need to ensure we are receiving them.
Document the System
A kanban system needs every role to be completed in the agreed to timeframe and with the agreed to method. These timeframes and methods need to be documented and your team needs training. This may be in a one page plan or an SOP. It can be adapted into your company systems.
Conduct Kanban “Health” Checks
A kanban system needs a stable product schedule; it will continue to work for a while with minor schedule fluctuations but major changes (both increases and decreases) will upset the system. Conduct regular “health” checks on your system to make sure your production requirements can still be met. Also check your delivery lead-times expectations are also being achieved.
Your friendly TXM Lean Consultant is happy to help you with your kanban health check; we can offer Kanban Triage too!