Kanban is a concept related to lean and just-in-time (JIT) production.

According to Taiichi Ohno, the man credited with developing Just-in-time, kanban is one means through which JIT is achieved.

The need to maintain a high rate of improvements led Toyota to devise the kanban system which became an effective tool to support the running of the production system as a whole.

"Kanban" uses the rate of demand to control the rate of production, passing demand from the end customer up through the chain of customer-store processes.

Kanban cards are a key component of Kanban that utilizes cards to signal the need to move materials within a manufacturing or production facility or move materials from an outside supplier to the production facility.

The Kanban card is, in effect, a message that signals depletion of product, parts or inventory that when received will trigger the replenishment of that product, part or inventory.

Consumption drives demand for more. Demand for more is signaled by Kanban card. Kanban cards thus, in effect, help to create a demand-driven system.

Kanban cards, in keeping with the principles of Kanban, should simply convey the need for more materials.

A red card lying in an empty parts cart would easily convey to whomever it would concern that more parts are needed.

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