Definition of Kanban:

A Japanese term. The actual term means “signal.” It is one of the primary tools of a just in time (JIT) manufacturing system. It signals a cycle of replenishment for production and materials. This can be considered as a demand for product from one step in the manufacturing or delivery process to the next. It maintains an orderly and efficient flow of materials throughout the entire manufacturing process with low inventory and work in process.

It is usually a printed card that contains specific information such as part name, description, quantity, etc.

In a Kanban manufacturing environment, nothing is manufactured unless there is a signal to manufacture. This is in contrast to a push-manufacturing environment where production is continuous.

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