Using the Workbook

Using the Workbook

The CD-ROM Workbook will assist you in preparing for startup by helping you document your readiness. The inventory analysis worksheet will help you assess your inventory position by helping to determine your current inventory status.


Don't make a half-hearted attempt at starting your kanban. Look at these three items to make sure you have all your bases covered before starting:

  1. Confirm the design is implemented

  2. Confirm training is complete

  3. Check the inventories

Once you are satisfied with the findings of the above items, then it is time to start the kanban. If you are not satisfied with your findings, then develop a plan to make the necessary corrections to get ready for startup.

Also, as you perform your last-minute checks and dry run, look at the readiness of the participants . If they are ready to start the kanban and no significant issues exist, then start the kanban.

Remember, nothing is ever perfect. Sometimes we can rationalize ourselves into inaction for an eternity by looking at all the little flaws. You should remember your role as a coach and mentor: Do not let your own fears keep you and the team from implementing the kanban.

Once you have made the decision to start the kanban, then watch for startup issues. Some of the common startup issues include situations where production operators:

  • Weren't sure the kanban started

  • Didn't follow the signals

  • Didn't know what to run because the kanban had no yellow signals or too many red signals

  • Cheated with the signals

Use the information in this chapter to help address these startup potential pitfalls. As you resolve these startup issues, always remember your role as coach and mentor. Also, use the CD-ROM Workbook to help in performing the inventory analysis.

Chapter 8: Auditing the Kanban


Once the kanban has started, the next task becomes keeping it going and reducing the kanban quantities . The task of keeping the kanban going centers on the process of auditing and making corrections as problems are discovered . This chapter addresses the auditing function and proposes a process for implementing corrective action. Chapter 9 will address how to reduce the kanban quantities by implementing the continuous improvement techniques of Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED), Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), Preventative Maintenance (PM), 5s, scrap reduction, and buffer reduction. Our kanban process flow now expands to include auditing of the kanban, as shown in Figure 8-1.

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Figure 8-1: Expanded Kanban Process Flow.

By auditing of the kanban we mean verifying the kanban runs as designed. The plant material managers or schedulers usually perform this task.

The audit process consists of cycle counting and reviewing past production records. The cycle count will provide an up-to-the-minute inventory that can be compared to the signals to make sure they match. The review of production records will confirm that the production operators are following the kanban signals. When auditors find a problem, they must implement the necessary changes or seek help to get the kanban back on track. When the correction is not obvious, problem solving will be required to identify and correct the problem.

The auditing function also includes making sure the kanban size is adequate to support any production requirement changes. To determine whether the kanban size supports production requirements, compare the current production requirement's forecast to the base-line quantities used to size the kanban. If the requirements have changed by 15 to 20 percent, then consider resizing the kanban.

Although auditing seems like a mundane task, most kanbans fail because no one initiated this function or let it slide over time. As a result, the kanban's problems never get corrected and production requirement changes never get addressed. Consequently, the kanbans become useless and the plant returns to its original forecast, or push, schedules. Figure 8-2 shows the relationship between auditing and assessing requirements to maintaining the kanban.

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Figure 8-2: Auditing and Assessing Requirements are Key to Maintaining the Kanban.