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Disadvantages of Kanban

Kanban is a signaling system, often used in manufacturing environments, that provides instruction for production or movement of items in a pull system. Over recent years Kanban has been favored as a lean tool in improving manufacturing process and the removal of waste within the such organizations.

Whilst Kanban does have itís successes it does have itís problems as we show here in our top 5 Disadvantages of Kanban list

1/ Keeping the Kanbans resized as demand changes can be slow and difficult to manage.

2/ Lost hardcopy tags/forms and Kanban cards. As these are integral to the Kanban system loss or damage to them may result in process ifficulties. To compensate for this a variety of electronic software based Kanban systems are available. Ideally to mitigate this Kanban cards should be kept on in-going and outgoing racks.

3/ Utilising the Kanban system results in less opportunity to work ahead of schedule placing performance pressures on staff.

4/ It can be inflexible to product mix changes and small or infrequent orders do not fit the model well. It could be argued that the Kanban system is more suitable for medium to large sized organizations.

5/ In order to facilitate the logistic process of quickly moving material to numerous work stations on the production line, a clean and well organized environment is required. A failure to do this may degrade the Kanban process.

Having stated some of the issues around Kanban, it remains a very effective tool in optimizing manufacturing systems in a JIT environment. For more information on Kanban check out article on What is Kanban




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