Light signal as Kanban

Last update: March 3rd, 2010
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The word "kanban" means a sign, a signal sent from a consummer to his supplier.

Practically kanban can come in various formats and media, even be virtual (electronic kanban).

A simple and effective way to setup a kanban call system is to link a sensor to a flash light, eventually doubled with a sound signal.

In the example on the right, the buffer stock holds three crates, representing the inventory S on the workstation.


This inventory S will be consummed in a time T. The order point is calculated then rounded to the next entire crate. The sensor is placed in a maner to "see" the crossing of the order point.

In our example, the order point is crossed when only one crate remains on the conveyor.

A light signal warns supplier of the consummer requirement. The supplier knows he'll have to deliver three crates and he'll have to do it in a maximum delay of T/3

Author Chris HOHMANN is managing partner in an international consulting firm.




Chaku-Chaku is a takt flow job consisting in loading/unloading parts from one machine to the next according to a sequence the operator walks in the cell.

Read more about chaku chaku

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