The Downsides of Kanban

Kanban is a method for managing the creation of products with an emphasis on continual delivery. The process is designed to help teams work together more effectively and efficiently. The Kanban System has become synonymous with the implementation of the Just in Time (JIT) manufacturing philosophy which remains one of the most popular and effective ways to control inventory and reduce waste.


The term is a Japanese word whose English translation means “signboard” or “visual signal”. Began in the 1940s, JIT grew out of Toyota’s cultural commitment to continuous improvement to spur peak performance in its manufacturing processes.

Over the years Kanban has been the choice as a lean tool for improving manufacturing process: but it has also its downsides. Here are some of them.

Kanban Does Not Eliminate Variability

Kanban isn’t suited for assembling conditions with low quality items, short creation runs, a huge number of item types and exceedingly factored item requests. The framework requires the same arrangement week after week and month to month creation plans combined with everyday adaptability. This may not be conceivable in an assembling domain with different item types; variable generation requests and long creation runs, as a certain amount of unpredictability and diminishing general proficiency is already built into the production line. These kinds of production flows are problematic! Kanban optimization becomes very difficult, if not impossible, in such situations.

Wide Fluctuations in Supply and Demand

In spite of the fact that the framework was intended to have a leveling impact in matching output to demand, consistently changing purchaser demand makes the supply chain behind the Kanban system difficult to optimize.

The Kanban framework works by keeping supplies of parts low, if not near zero. In instances of high vulnerability and interruptions in the transportation network, stock cradles are reduced to using low quality parts rejected by quality control until standard parts arrive from the providers. This will cause inevitable delays in your production process.

Demand Changes = Problems

The Kanban framework expects steady, repetitive production. The idea suggests that the distribution center or the provider ought to convey parts to the generation line as and when they are required. Changes in demand and products may affect the functioning of the framework. Accordingly, the framework is less suited to enterprises where item volumes and mixes fluctuate.

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