Easy Lean Pull System Concepts – Training With the Kanban Game
Kanban is a Japanese term that literally translates to “display card” or “instruction card”. The method is an organizational system wherein the flow of production depends on a demand signal. It is one of the key elements of the Lean Pull System, wherein production only begins when display or instruction cards are sent upstream, indicating what products should be produced, when production should start and end, and all the details of this production, including where materials are to be sourced from.
The Kanban method, in terms of the Lean Pull System, is concerned with indicating the need to move materials and products within the production facility, or from the outside supplier to the production facility, or from the production facility to the client. The method is an effective component of other Lean practices.
Today, the system has developed into the electronic Kanban or the e-Kanban, which is usually integrated with a company’s Enterprise Resource Planning system for integration with other processes, and thus, for better visibility. However, its main task, which is to signal upstream production and to indicate whether there’s depletion anywhere in the chain or flow, remains the same.
Like many of the other Lean practices, Kanban requires firsthand experience in order to be absorbed properly by the employees and implemented cohesively in the workplace. In order for this to be achieved in the shortest possible time with the least possible damages from training “accidents”, Lean practitioners offer the Kanban game.
A Kanban game allows an employee or a team to familiarize themselves with the principles and processes of Kanban without the risk of jeopardizing the business because of inevitable mistakes during training. Teaching through games or simulation also allows teams to improve teamwork as well as their strategizing capabilities.
The typical Kanban game contains an exhaustive description of the method through case studies and simulations. The results from these case studies and simulations are then discussed within the teams or groups to further improve each individual’s understanding of the method. The game effectively yields probable scenarios that would effectively test and then improve each individual employee’s awareness of the Kanban method.