Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Kanban System at a Medical Device Manufacturer

Interested in how a replenishment kanban system works?

A kanban system is a way to handle inventory using a pull system. A minimal amount of inventory is kept and material is only replenished when it's pulled from the storage location.

A two bin kanban system is the simplest form of kanban. Each part number is stored in two bins. When one bin is used up, the empty box is a signal to the previous process to produce more parts and fill the box. The second box is used while the first one is being replenished. Simple!

I posted a video last year showing a 2-bin system using a gravity flow rack.

The video below is from a medical device manufacturer showing their lean production cell. Kanban is just one part of their process and you can see how they use it to manage their component inventory. The parts are stored in a component supermarket area, where the 2 bin kanban system is demonstrated.

View the embedded video below or watch the video on Youtube:

1. Component Kanban System
Each part box is labeled with the type and quantity of parts and the location where it is stored. When the assembler runs out of parts at the work station, he brings the empty bin to the part storage area and takes a full bin back to his work station. The empty bin is a signal to replenish the storage area with more parts.

2. Lean Work Cell
Each module seems pretty complicated, but there is a unique work cell set up for each one. This allows all parts and tools to be at the assembler's fingertips. Each work station has an online step-by-step work instruction, with pictures to reduce mistakes.

3. Single Piece Flow
After assembly, each module is placed on a rack. There's only room for one of each type, so no overproduction! The team assembler moves on to the next part that the customer needs.

This video is an excellent example of a kanban system in use. If you are implementing kanban, it might be worth viewing this video, or showing it your team to get the ideas flowing. Everyone's process is different, but kanban can be tuned to fit each application.

For more videos like this, check out my huge list of training videos!


  1. Top-rated blog. This is a good example, but wont you freeze money by making kanban points of wip in between stations? Would it be better to pull directly from the first station, once finished goods are pulled by customer from FGI? thanks a lot!~ Paula Jones

    1. Thanks for the comment. I think reducing WIP makes sense if you can pull directly from the first station, but it looks like the testing procedure is either longer than takt time, or finding too many bad pieces, which is probably why they need to keep extra WIP. Not ideal, but sometimes inventory in the right place will help reduce fluctuations and smooth the work flow.
      I'm not familiar with the process, just trying to glean info from what I see in the video.

  2. Thank you very much for this useful article. I like it. tadalafil

  3. I always value and appreciate those engaging profusion of helpful information that is interesting and pleasingly composed. I pay tribute to those contributors whose conscientious work always remains very much helpful to others.

  4. I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work pharmacy merchant account

  5. The trend is an offshoot of the need felt by doctors to concentrate on treating patients rather than on other functional details. here

  6. The second dental supply which is necessary for the dentists is college tweezers. dental products

  7. Excellent website you have here, so much cool information!.. Dental Instruments

  8. Thanks for another informative web site. Where else could I get that type of info written in such an ideal way? I have a project that I’m just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such information.
    - hide online

  9. I am upbeat to locate your recognized method for composing the post. Presently you make it simple for me to comprehend and execute the idea. Much obliged to you for the post.  swollen eyelid pictures

  10. Therefore we have a wide need for physical therapists that do one on one therapy intervention that include thorough assessments as well as evaluations and then beneficial treatments. Click Here

  11. This is only the data I am discovering all over the place. A debt of gratitude is in order for your website, I simply subscribe your online journal. This is a decent blog..

  12. Gift boxes are popular items which are used all year long. People will buy cardboard boxes in Melbourne for personal use, or to give away when they wrap gifts. Sometimes, when you receive a present for a special occasion like a birthday, graduation, anniversary, or at Christmas, your new jeans, books or jewellery, may also be packed in a beautiful gift box. When you add it all up, at the end of the year, you may actually end up with quite a collection of amazing gift boxes.plastic corrugated sheet manufacturers

  13. I'm shakshi.I am working in India top most Escort serviceEscort service in Mumbai.If u want to join the all facility of escortsEscort service in Bhubaneswar.pls call me & whatssapEscort service in Puri
    visit the sites.Escort service in Cuttack

  14. If you are in Jaipur and need beautiful Jaipur Call Girls or white skin Jaipur Call Girls then you can simply book call girls in Jaipur from one of the best escort agency named Jaipur Call Girls. It is No.1 premier escort agency and provide both incall or outcall facility to clients. Please click on the following link to check the official websites Jaipur Call Girls

  15. The dragonfruit is a goldmine when it comes to nutritional value. frozen mango smoothie

  16. You fully match our expectation and the selection of our data.31 hour urgent care

  17. The compositions of this blog are sensational.
    Fortress Bio