Kanban boards and cards are essential tools in multiple production industries. Most individuals appreciate Kanban cards because it boosts manufacturing efficiency and their system acquires its name from cards, which track production within the factory. However, all appreciations should be channeled to the Japanese, who discovered a scheduling system that carries many functions, such as maximizing productivity and reducing waste in the manufacturing industry.
Taiichi Ohno, a businessman who is also an industrial engineer, worked hard to introduce the Kanban cards system. The primary purpose of Kanban cards is to control how parts flow just in time (JIT). This comprehensive post will educate you more about the Kanban cards.
What Is a Kanban Card?
Kanban is a Japanese term formulated from kan and ban, which means visual and card. Therefore, a combination of these words means the card you can see. Taiichi Ohno, a father of Toyota Production, a well-known businessman, and an industrial engineer, has the honor of introducing the Kanban Cards system.
Furthermore, Ohno noticed that the grocery store shelves had sufficient stocks to cater to customer demand. He was inspired to create Kanban card templates for that specific system. After Ohno observed that the store’s inventory could only be refilled when empty spots were seen on the shelves, he developed an idea of building visual marketers, which lowed unnecessary inventories. Similarly, this kind of system is crucial because it assists you in discovering the workflow process issues. Finally, you must know that Kanban cards are still used up to date.
Kanban Card Templates & Examples
The origin of Kanban cards
You must understand that Kanban cards feature a system with high visuals, making it easy for company teams to converse excellently about what duties they need to carry out and when. Kanban later advanced to a knowledge work system with Kanban cards representing a separate work system.
Kanban sheets and Kanban cards have no complicated processes. In most cases, if you want a piece of work displayed, you need to use sticky notes on the whiteboard with lanes illustrating steps your team requires to implement in the entire process.
Remember, these notes incorporate essential information for every work at hand and define the work item within a specific team. This simple routine gave birth to the use of modern Kanban cards.
Why Kanban Cards?
As Ohno designed the Kanban concept, he considered the emotional and psychological aspects. He made this achievable by developing guardrails that specify actions to set what is needed to make an effective system and empower those who support it.
In addition, these guardrails make part of fundamental principles and general practices, which are efficiency. The principles and practices usually describe how and what you must do to succeed. These principles include:
Encouraging leadership acts on the entire levels
The Kanban system believes that any team can come up with magnificent ideas. Thus, an individual should not only focus on management. Besides, it supports Kaizen, a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of personal efficiency and working practices.
Respecting the current responsibilities, titles, processes as well as roles
Kanban usually brings change to the system and recognizes and respects facts that the current organization values. The incremental change Kanban-style develops broader implementation support since it introduces minor corrections that happen to be more acceptable than a complete overhaul.
Accepting to follow incremental change
Most people love the Kanban method because it supports continuous change, especially the current system. However, such changes should be in small increments and gradually. Furthermore, radical, wide range and drastic changes are never recommended since you are likely to meet challenges along the way.
Commence with well-known information
Kanban does not support a particular process, but you can use it to assess ongoing operations to avoid making radical changes straightaway.
Essential Elements of a Kanban Card
To understand the primary purpose of the Kanban card template, you must be familiar with the crucial characteristics of the Kanban card template. Below are essential elements of a Kanban card that will guide you come up with your Kanban Excel template:
The Kanban card usually rotates across the entire workflow enabling any team member to use the template’s back to state down applicable metrics, like:
- Finish date
- Lead time
- Blocked days and location
- Start date
This card offers you vital information concerning overall workflow. It allows you to find any issue and understand the system’s workflow before significantly affecting the system. With the information offered on this card, you are likely to get a chance for continuous improvement. Furthermore, your entire team will understand the Kanban system value if you record the metrics accurately.
Front or face
Kanban’s front or face should feature meaningful details about your team because it has the primary purpose: to give the work item’s visual status. This information includes:
- An individual assigned work
- Work size estimate
- A precise work description
- An identifier or a unique title
Ensure that all this information fits on the face of your Kanban card template.
Best Practices When Using Kanban Cards
Suppose you want the Kanban system to deliver maximum performance. There are best practices that describe certain things you must accomplish. These best practices include:
- Teamwork for improvement- With the Kanban system, you will identify areas that need improvement. Therefore, when focused, the workgroups usually develop ways to solve the issue, hypothesize and implement their solution.
- Create feedback loops- Kanban teams usually have daily meetings with their board to discuss boosting the delivery task and process. This also helps them to determine where they can remove waste.
- Develop explicit policies- Teamwork leads to creating fundamental rules about workflow for multiple items since they determine whether it is time to relocate items into the next row. Teams also develop plans on taking notes and handling blocked work or tasks. Make sure you mark all items close to the team workboard for improvement.
- Control the flow- Kanban systems help manage tasks and visual tracking for maximum performance. This is achievable based on the amount of data you have collected alongside other metrics. The information you get will assist you with your current work state.
- Confine work in progress- This is the most crucial part of the Kanban system. When you confine the work in progress, you allow your members to complete particular tasks. In addition, you will also be able to highlight where your work commences getting problems before it is too late.
- Visualize your workflow- If you visualize your whole company’s workflow, your Kanban cards will work effectively. Apart from that, visualize the requests number and the duration it takes to deliver requests. Ensure that you also visualize who makes the requests and risks, then make a perfect management step as a team and an individual. Finally, put the Kanban cards and sheets on the Kanban board to allow members to focus on the existing workflow.
With these general practices and principles, you can confidently apply the Kanban system in multiple business departments, such as:
- Task management
- Strategic leadership and organizational executive
- Marketing project management
- Human resource
- Audit teams
Physical Vs. Virtual Kanban Card Template
You can use two ways to make a Kanban template: digital and physical Kanban Excel templates. Multiple people prefer using the virtual Kanban card template because of its features. However, all of them are effective.
Digital Kanban card template
It gives equal and easy access to remote and onsite team members. It has an automatic data collection that feeds into graphs and charts for quicker implementation. Additionally, it also features stored history for the card’s entire life.
Kanban card templates
Kanban card template helps to minimize oversights in the work environment. All team members clearly understand their work, such as what they still need to accomplish and what they should accomplish. This card is magnificent in communicating and capturing work. If your work includes repetition, you can standardize tasks using card templates or Kanban sheets. This boosts the workflow and saves resources and time.
There are six types of Kanban cards, primarily:
ᐅ Through Kanban
ᐅ Express Kanban
ᐅ Emergency Kanban
ᐅ Supplier Kanban
ᐅ Withdrawal Kanban
ᐅ Production Kanban
In a 2 card Kanban production control, every workstation along your production line usually succeeds and proceeds using inventory points with one before your production activity. This stores input resources and another after production activity, storing output.
Kanban has six rules; these are:
ᐅ Rationalize and stabilize the process
ᐅ Fine-tune production
ᐅ Level your production
ᐅ Generate a specific quantity needed
ᐅ Only take what is needed
ᐅ Avoid passing on defective products
Bear in mind that the success of the Kanban system depends on how deep the team is involved. Each team member must handle the assigned task within the standards established and follow the rules offered before assigning the task to another person or group. Lastly, every member must update the Kanban information and make it available to everyone.