Kanban – Toyota Production System guide


Discover the 12 other pillars of the Toyota Production System:
Konnyaku Stone
Genchi Genbutsu
Muda, Muri, Mura

Factories are complicated and busy places – and making sure all work is done can be difficult. That’s where the Kanban, or signboard system, fits into the Toyota Production system.

Kanban (English: Signboard): A system that conveys information between processes and automatically orders parts as they are used up. Every item or box of items that flows through the production process carries its own kanban. Kanbans come off  items that have been used or transported and go back to the preceding processes as orders for additional items

Though literally translated as ‘signboard’, the Toyota-developed method has become known as a clear, sign-based scheduling system triggering the logistical chain of production and maintaining it at an optimal level.

Kanban displays can broadcast lots of different types of information, from stock levels to production volumes. In its simplest form a kanban board will show goods in, goods in production, and goods out.

Over time, Toyota has evolved this considerably.

Kanban is the quick-response system through which Just-In-Time production is achieved, harmonising inventory levels with actual consumption. Toyota has six rules for the effective application of Kanban: 1) Never pass on defective products; 2) Take only what is needed; 3) Produce the exact quantity required; 4) Level the production; 5) Fine-tune production; and 6) Stabilise and rationalise the process.

Removing faults from production is central to the Toyota Production System – another way this happens is through use of the Andon cable, find out about it here.

See our complete Toyota Production System glossary here.


  1. Dear Sir
    I am student of master science &”management of product “is one of my course
    As your company is world wide brand, I was wondering if you could please let me know about KANBAN method and how you use this method in your process of products?
    best regard

    1. Hi Ashrafi
      Thanks for your post. The article about Kanban is from a series of features regarding the Toyota Production System and more details about these can be found here. http://bit.ly/17TIBQv
      You may also find this useful from the Toyota Global website about the production system. http://bit.ly/h9x1oo
      Hope this helps.

  2. Sir,i am Hosea Hena. as a practice student, i just want to know about of background KANBAN, as your company is world wide brand Started with TOYOTA car, I am very eager to know if you could please enlighten me about KANBAN method and the usage of then method in the process of your production business plan .
    Thank you sir.

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