Kanban boards are excellent visual management tools for tracking work-in-progress, identifying roadblocks, and ensuring a free-flowing value stream. The idea started with inventory cards helping workers at Toyota ensure that the right parts were available just in time. Leaders took the concept and used it to track any type of work, often on a poster or whiteboard. These days, you’ll find them in hospitals, software firms, construction offices, schools, and more.
May 28, 2019 10:25:09 AM
Jan 9, 2019 8:01:00 AM
As you might expect, we write quite a bit about Lean and Six Sigma management techniques that have been modernized by moving to digital form and becoming an integrated part of a continuous improvement management platform.
When it comes to Kanban, some applications will remain in the analog world. But for the management of work-in-progress, a digital Kanban management tool can be a real game-changer.
Moving status cards off of the wall and into an improvement management platform has a number of tremendous benefits. Here are what we consider the top 10.
Nov 13, 2018 3:29:50 PM
The internet is full of free templates for creating Kanban boards in Excel. That’s not surprising because the format of a Kanban board can be very simple, and Excel is attractive because most people know how to use its base features and everyone in the company probably already has access to it. Setting up a Kanban board in Excel and emailing it out to everyone is easy. That’s why we aren’t surprised that so many organizations start out on this road.
Very few, however, reach their goals with this approach. Here’s why.
Aug 16, 2018 7:37:00 AM
Microsoft Excel is one of the most widely used applications on the planet. I know exactly why. It’s amazingly flexible, most people know how to use its core features, and almost everyone already has it installed on their computer.
What’s not to love?
When it comes to digitizing your Kanban board, there is a lot not to love about Excel.
Here are the main problems with using Excel for Kanban:
- No matter how expertly you’ve designed your spreadsheet, it is still a passive artifact. It won’t notify your team when tasks or due or deadlines are missed.
- Spreadsheets are easily broken. If you lock it down enough to protect it, it loses value. If you don’t, formulas can be messed up or data can be lost.
- Version control is a nightmare.
- There’s no support for collaboration.
- Using a tool that you already have doesn’t signal a commitment to improvement.
So if for these reasons or others, you’ve decided to dump the spreadsheet approach to Kanban, good for you! Now what? When you start your search for an alternative to your Kanban board in Excel, we hope you’ll start with KaiNexus, but no matter what solution you consider, make sure it has these key capabilities.
Aug 2, 2018 8:01:00 AM
The Kanban visual management technique has been around since the late 1940’s when Toyota introduced it in its manufacturing plants. They were looking to improve efficiency and reduce waste, and in the process, paved the way for just-in-time manufacturing. At Toyota, workers used color-coded Kanban cards to signal to downstream workers when there was a need for parts. The word Kanban means “shopkeepers card” or “visual sign” in Japanese.
These days, the Kanban approach has been adopted and modified for use by workers in almost all industries. The most common display is a physical board that has cards moving from queue, in-progress, to complete. This is an excellent way to visualize work in progress and recognize backlogs or teams waiting for work. For small, centrally located groups, a physical board is often sufficient, but by taking the idea into the cloud, Kanban software companies have added significant value to the concept and made it possible to visually manage teams of any size no matter how many locations are involved. Here are the most compelling reason to consider Kanban software for your organization.
May 22, 2018 1:35:26 PM
The Kanban technique started in the late 1940’s as Toyota looked to rethink its approach to manufacturing. The object was to reduce waste, improve efficiency and enable what’s come to be known as just-in-time manufacturing. Toyota’s workers displayed colorful Kanban cards to communicate to downstream workers that there was a demand for parts. (Kanban means “visual signal” or “shopkeepers card” in Japanese.) This visual management approach helped teams communicate instantly about what needed to be done and when.
Fast forward to today, and you’ll find that the Kanban approach has evolved to be useful for information workers and others in a variety of industries. The most common application is a physical board that shows work that is in the queue, in-progress, and completed. A physical Kanban board works great for small, centrally located teams with a limited number of projects in play at any one time. However, more complex groups which are distributed and organizations that want a centralized view of all improvement work have turned to digital Kanban boards instead. Here are a few benefits of the approach.
Apr 25, 2018 2:17:29 PM
One of the great things about working at KaiNexus is that our team has lots of insightful conversations with customers, prospects, consultants, trainers, and others interested in the tools and techniques associated with continuous improvement. We often get together and share notes on what topics are trending and what information people in the field are looking for.
Lately, the subject of Kanban and Kanban boards has come up quite a bit. We think this is driven by a larger trend toward visual management and dashboards for all business functions. It’s clear from our conversations that people have questions about how Kanban fits into a well-managed improvement culture.
We can’t claim to have all of the answers, but here are a few of the most important.
Jan 30, 2017 8:10:00 AM
Visual management, sometimes called visual control, is the technique of communicating information using visual signals rather than text or written instruction. People process visual images much more quickly than text, so the approach is an excellent way to achieve efficiency and clarity of communications. We often think of huddle boards or Kanban cards when we think about visual management, but it can take many forms. For example, some organizations have different colored uniforms for different teams, others use visual cues to mark where tools should be placed when not in use.
The advantages of visual management are easy to imagine, but there are a few common mistakes that keep organizations from getting the most out of the approach. Here are a few that you can avoid.
Nov 24, 2016 8:10:00 AM
The idea of Kanban refers to the visual management of inventory and work in progress. It was widely used by Toyota and many people think of it as something that was developed for and by auto manufacturers, but the story is much bigger than that. Kanban isn’t really something that was invented, it is something that evolved.
Nov 10, 2016 11:00:00 AM
Huddle boards are great. They serve as a powerful visual management tool and bring people together around improvement efforts. People feel good and empowered when they see their ideas for improvement progress from one stage of completion to another. Leaders get insight into the health of the organization’s improvement culture and they can measure engagement and momentum.