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In Just-In-Time (JIT) systems, the subassemblies and parts required for final assembly are pulled in small batches from the supplying work centers whenever they are needed.  One of the most popular methods used for implementing JIT is through the use of kanbans.  Kanban means “card” or “visible record” in Japanese.

A single-card kanban system uses a withdrawal or “move kanban” to trigger production.


kanban system


In the above system, work center A produces a part that is moved to the storage area in containers that hold a certain number of parts.  Work center B pulls a container from storage when it needs the material and may return an empty container to the storage area.  When B pulls the container, the move kanban is removed from the container and placed in the card rack at A.  The move kanban in A indicates an authorization for A to produce another container of parts.

    kanban system


A two-card system has a move kanban and a production kanban.  Suppose that work center B is using a container of parts that are next to B.  The move kanban pulled from the container goes to the storage area.  A full container is found, the production kanban is removed, and the move kanban is placed in the container.  This authorizes movement of the container from storage to work center B.  The production kanban is then placed near work center A as an authorization to produce.