Core Kanban Principles

old-kanban-lean-toyota

You may or may not have heard of the Japanese Kanban principles, but chances are you have or will use them in your business. So, what are the core Kanban principles and how can they help your business?

Kanban principles – or “what you need to know about Kanban”

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Kanban originated from the Toyota company who noticed that grocery stores often did not restock their shelves until an item was almost completely out of stock. This, of course, was regardless of whether or not the vendor had the items ready and available. This made Toyota rethink its mass production process for a more “low stock” approach, leading to the development of a smarter do business, when they created the Kanban system.

Kanban system uses a card as a visual cue to communicate between departments making it easier to signal what work needs to be done and when. Toyota developed the system to help its line workers identifying the different steps in the manufacturing process, thereby making them more efficient reducing waste and maximizing profits.

What are the main steps in Kanban?

There are all kinds of methodologies that are said to enhance workflow and improve efficiency in the manufacturing or delivery process, but few compare to the kanban method.

Created by David J. Anderson, this unique approach has revolutionized how many businesses handle their day to day operations. If you have never heard of kanban, you are going to want to keep reading in order to discover these 5 main properties of this innovative method:

  • Visualization
  • WIP limits
  • Management
  • Explicitness
  • Collaboration

Visualization

You have to see where you are going in order to get there, which is why kanban users benefit from being able to visualize the workflow. Generally, the most common method used by kanban teams to visualize their workflow is what are known as card walls with a column for each stage.

WIP Limits

Using kanban to limit work-in-progress gives you a clear understanding of the problems discovered with your workflow and what needs to be done in order to solve them.

Golden tip: Why you should limit work in progress (in Kanban)

Management

If you are using kanban it’s because you want to create positive change and change can never occur without proper management. Kanban provides you with the vital information you need to adequately manage your team and the time cycle.

Explicitness

The visuals used in the kanban method allow every member of your team to define what needs to be done and in what order. This means that if a decision need to be made, there won’t be any misunderstandings or confusion.

Collaboration

When your team is on the same page, they will then be able to join together and work in a collaborative manner. After all, it helps foster creativity, improves efficiency and increases morale when the team is all striving toward to same goals.

Give Kanban a try with Pipefy!

Pipefy is an online Kanban software where tasks move laterally through the multiple phases of your process. Each of your process’ phases can have its own set of work rules, triggers and if needed, a designated owner.

Don’t lose any more time, try Pipefy!

Written by
Isabelle Wuilleumier Salemme
Head of Customer Support @Pipefy. She uses her extensive Pipefy knowledge to help users make the best of Pipefy via support and writing informative content pieces. Besides being in charge of support, she's an avid reader, a coffee lover, and a professional photographer.
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