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How to implement Kanban and implementation success factors

My plant is setting up a Kanban system on our shop floor. What steps should we be taking to implement Kanban effectively?

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Kanban is simple in principle but not necessarily simple to implement. Since your company is already going down this path, I'll assume that the company has taken time learn about the different types of Kanbans and is applying the right types for the right situation. So, here are the steps:
  1. Retain a lean coach if you have not already done so to help implement your Kanban system.
  2. Standardize the usage of your Kanban system. This should be a Kaizen event that includes the people who will be using the Kanbans. They will document the Kanban usage process.
  3. Identify who needs to be trained on the Kanban system and create a visual training plan (like a training matrix) on the Kanban system.
  4. Follow up to make sure that the Kanban training plan is followed and completed.
  5. Review inventory levels quarterly for reduction opportunities.

This was first published in July 2009

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