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Benefits of moving to electronic Kanban processes

Speed is crucial to a production environment. Gaining more speed is a top priority for most managers. Sometimes that increase in speed can come from modernizing processes that have already been proven. The Kanban process can be one of those areas where an application of technology can go a long way in getting more reliable performance out of a manufacturing operation.

A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) like MV2 can provide an entirely digital Kanban process for firms. These processes work the same as the conventional paper-based ones but removes a lot of the stumbling blocks and lags that human-powered systems have. We’ve put together a few of the more important issues that going digital Kanban can help solve.

Reducing errors and lost cards

Humans are better at a number of tasks, but they can’t compete with the precision that machines can bring. Even the best worker is going to make mistakes – and sometimes those mistakes could lead to downtime or overproduction. That potential is greatly reduced using an electronic Kanban system. These systems collect and distribute information directly from the operations and does not rely on human tabulation and transposition to perform its tasks.

Using an electronic Kanban system also provides a far more reliable method of delivering Kanban card information to and from their destinations. In a digital system, those cards are electronically delivered, instead of hand carried to their destinations. The MES system integrated Kanban process keeps tabs on where and when cards have been issued for material requests and the location of parts bins for the processes. In a paper-based system, this is data a manager would have to physically inspect on the plant floor to learn.

Next level process monitoring

With the digitization of the Kanban process, the benefits of this scheduling system can reach whole new levels of efficiency. The manager could not only know where everything is currently in the production system, the software can automatically record historical process data across a number of jobs. This data a manager could use to determine performance over time and locate inefficiencies in the production process that can’t be found easily with a physical card process.

Kanban board materials utilization board

MV2 can also deliver this information to a variety of end points, from desktop computers to mobile devices or other business systems. It can even display the current location of every card through it’s heijunka-derived Kanban visual scheduling tool. These screens can be displayed on monitors throughout the facility and updated in real time without human input. That means the entire factory is on the same page when it comes to process tracking.

Connecting to other departments

To be effective, the Kanban process needs to cooperate with other aspects of the firm beyond manufacturing. The production floor needs to communicate with outside vendors to keep the inherently just-in-time process operating smoothly. That happens through the purchasing department. The MV2 MES can integrate its e-Kanban process into MRP systems to automatically signal re-order needs according to a production manager’s safety limits.

Internally, it can be made to integrate with other inventory systems or MV2’s own inventory system, as well as the software managing the shipping department. These integrations extend the tenets of Kanban management principles into areas that may have been previously incompatible or had to have manual conversion from physical cards.

These are just a few examples where the digital transformation of Kanban processes can benefit shop floor operations. If you’d like to get even more out of your lean manufacturing processes, contact us today!

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