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Amazing Adventures of Kanban

July 16, 2009
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OK, I couldn’t stop laughing at Jon Miller’s post taking a creative look at the 60 year history of Kanban. It is as instructive as it is funny. To get a flavor, here’s an excerpt:

Kanban Gains Superpowers

Pokayoke has the power to prevent mistakes. Jiodka frees people to run machines intelligently, rather than be run by them. Heijunka has the power to take choppy demand and smooth it out. Kaizen has the power to make infinite small improvements. All of these players and their many friends bring order and harmony to a production system. Yet one stands above them all: kanban.

Kanban was endowed with three major powers. First is the the power to instruct the production of goods. Within the Toyota Production System and its imitators, only kanban has the power to cause things to be made. Second is the power to instruct the movement of goods. Like its first power, kanban can cause things to be moved. Third and perhaps most important, kanban can motivate people towards continuous improvement by reducing its own size. Within a kanban system, the less kanban there is, the more improvement is accomplished. Like a true hero, the power of kanban increases as it diminishes its own presence. Amazing.

Go read the whole thing…

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