Potentials of the Kanban method in production logistics

31.May.2022, Reading time: 3 min 40 second

Production logistics is the link between procurement logistics, distribution logistics and assembly/production planning and is thus closely linked to the other logistics modules. The main task of production logistics is to ensure an optimal and smooth flow of materials from the raw materials warehouse through the production and assembly processes to the finished goods warehouse in order to avoid costs for production downtimes. Thus, production logistics is understood to be the planning, management and control of internal transport, handling and storage processes.


Production logistics purposes

  • Improvement and adjustment of capacity
  • Reduction of manufacturing costs
  • Increasing flexibility in production
  • Reduction of lead times
  • reduction of inventories
  • optimal design of transport routes in production

Kanban in production logistics

Kanban is a method of decentralized process control. With the help of Kanban, processes within the material flow can be made more flexible and agile in order to be able to react quickly to varying demand situations – the method is thus suitable for optimizing the procurement of relevant individual parts and making them possible “on demand”. The Kanban method was first introduced in the 1950s by Toyota manager Taiichi Ohno at Toyota plants to increase productivity and minimize waste during the production process.


How does the Kanban method work?

Data cards are used to trigger individual production and logistics processes. Relevant information such as the item number or the quantity of individual parts is noted on the cards. The procurement of these parts is now adapted to the individual demand – if certain components are missing, a preset production stage sends a signal to the parts warehouse, which in turn forwards the required order to the supplier. The supplier can now react and brings the corresponding component in the required quantity into the lean warehouse.
The triggering of a reorder point can be generated by different technical possibilities:

  •  Scanning of barcodes via MDEs
  •  RFID scanners
  •  Button call-offs
  •  Shelf rockers
  •  RTLS systems

The call-offs or production orders are transmitted via WIFI to the warehouse management system, ERP system or to the corresponding component supplier.

Advantages of the Kanban method

  • Decentralized control
  • High flexibility and lean inventory
  • Reduction of search times
  • Optimized material flow
  • Avoidance of waste
  • Increase in warehouse productivity

Prerequisites for Kanban

  • Continuous production
  • High degree of standardization of the products with strictly timed production
  • Clear designations for precise allocation of cards and containers
  • Consistent container management
  • Distinct quality assurance
  • Large fluctuations in production must be avoided
  • Transport cycles must be shortened and standardized

Conclusion of the Kanban method in production logistics

The Kanban method is a promising method of decentralized process control and promises to significantly improve production control processes. But is the system suitable for any production process? Generally it cannot be said that Kanban is the ideal method for your enterprise. In principle, the system can only function efficiently if appropriate restructuring measures are taken, such as the adjustment of warehousing.

Consulting and implementation

The decision, whether Kanban is the optimal method for your enterprise, can be evaluated only after detailed examination of the actual conditions (internally and externally) inclusive a potential analysis by us. Besides the Kanban method, there are many other methods and strategies to design your production logistics in a value-adding way. Our experts will gladly support you in analyzing and selecting the optimal strategy for your company. We are happy to support you from the potential analysis to a successful implementation!

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