This is part 4 of a 6-part step-by-step series on kanban deployment. In this article and the two that follow we’ll review how to delploy physical kanban cards to best ensure kanban success.
Inventory Items and Kanban Cards
When deploying kanban cards, it’s best to start by taking a step back to see what card deployment looks like. Should you choose to utilize physical kanban cards, it’s good to know that once your kanban program is fully deployed your cards will exist in one of three places:
- Cards corresponding with pending orders will be put in standard location specifically designed for pending kanban orders.
- Once the kanban order has been placed with the internal or external supplier, the card will be moved to the appropriate due date on the kanban board.
- Once your items have arrived, the cards will be put with the ordered quantity at the item’s standard storage location, as designated on the kanban card.
Matching Cards to Orders and Items
While it’s important to be cognizant of the above, to ensure success, when launching your kanban program you should only deploy cards in the following order:
- Match kanban cards to open orders.
Open orders should always be matched with kanban cards first. This is true both for items that are purchased from external suppliers and for items that are manufactured by internal suppliers.Because the physical items are not on location yet, they can’t be physically matched to their kanban cards. Instead, place the cards on the kanban board at the appropriate due date for each respective order. It’s vitally important to get this step right! Know that to do this correctly, you’ll need to gather open order data. It should go without saying that reliable inventory data accuracy is an essential prerequisite for successfully completing this step and preventing the immediate failure of your entire kanban initiative.For each order, you need to know the date that the order is scheduled to arrive and the quantity that was ordered. You may find that the quantity associated with some open orders require more than one kanban card to be matched to it. That is okay for right now because the current open orders were issued without Kanban Order Quantities (KOQs) in mind. If suppliers are willing to adjust order quantities for open orders, you may find it simpler to match one card per order. In any case, it will not take too long for the card to order ratio to achieve balance.Do you have to match your kanban cards with open orders before you match them with inventory? Absolutely. If cards are deployed to the floor, they may be processed and trigger more orders before the current open orders are even filled. That sabotages inventory reduction!
- Match remaining Kanban cards to on-hand items.
After pairing kanban cards to all open orders, allocate on-hand inventory in the appropriate quantities to the remaining cards. The trigger type used for each item will affect the way the cards are matched to inventory.
- For Break-a-Bin items, only full KOQs should be matched with a card.
- For Empty-a-Bin items, start by pairing items in the amount of full KOQs to available cards, then pair any remaining distinct quantities less than a full KOQ.
- Process new orders.
For any and all cards left over, it’s time to replenish the stock. Process orders for each of the cards and then place them on the kanban board on at the date the items are scheduled to arrive.Whatever happens, remember to not stop matching cards until each card is paired with an order or on-hand inventory. In the event that you have more on-hand inventory than you have cards, this indicates that you have excess inventory. In the remaining 2 parts of this series we’ll cover how to manage this inventory dilemma.
In part 5 of this 6-part series we’ll take a closer look at deploying kanban cards for items with Empty-a-Bin (EaB) replenishment triggering.
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