Since Taiichi Ohno, Toyota Production System founder, first introduced Kanban in the 1950s, it’s been put to use by thousands of companies and individuals in the pursuit of success. The main purpose of Kanban cards is to track progress and in doing so, it helps each member of a company or production team stay updated, whilst allowing them to easily determine strategies that either work or do not.
Kanban methods allow you to better visualize your work, determine what needs to be done and in what order, in addition to easily communicating the status of any given task along with giving and receiving context for the work.
If you are using Kanban cards to track progress in your place of work, you will need to choose a way in which to display them. Displaying your Kanban cards allows all team members to easily see the progress status on various projects or the overall pursuit of a goal. There are several different methods to consider for displaying Kanban cards at work. Here are some of the different Kanban board and cardholder types, explained.
1. Online/Agile Kanban Boards:
Online Kanban boards tend to be a far cheaper alternative to physical displays and are popular with modern tech companies, who often try to keep everything as digital as possible. They are ideal for workers who are completing tasks from their computers, majority of the time. An online Kanban board allows workers to put together, manage, and better visualize workflows whilst allowing for real-time online collaboration on projects with fellow team members. You can find out more about using the Kanban method online at Kanbanize.
The term ‘Agile’ was first used in relation to Kanban around two decades ago, devised by a team of seventeen independent software developers. It offers an interactive and flexible approach to using Kanban cards for business, particularly software development. Agile methods allow teams to divide the development process into smaller, more manageable segments, allowing for easier, more efficient changes as the work progresses, keeping the workflow flowing and minimizing the risk of it coming to a stand-still. The adaptability of this display system is what makes it so popular. Teams can accept small changes and easily present complex tasks, workflows, and progress, which creates more overall transparency when it comes to projects and collaborations.
Kanban method applications emulate their analog counterparts but often offer so much more. Faster completion of work, increased efficiency and flexibility, and more transparency between teams are just some of the reasons to consider using an online Kanban display system.
2. Excel Kanban Boards:
Using Microsoft Excel or a similar program such as Google Sheets is perhaps one of the simplest ways to present your Kanban cards. To create a Kanban board using either of these programs, you will first need to name the columns of your sheet to correlate with each work progress stage. You can use the basic ‘to do, doing, done’, or customize them in order to better reflect the specific project that the sheet will be representing. This method of displaying Kanban cards is popular due to the fact that it allows you to retain all the functionality of tracking projects using Excel or Sheets, whilst adopting Kanban principles to allow for improved visibility and flexibility.
Alternatively, you may wish to use PowerPoint or Google Slides; these popular slide-show software programs allow you to easily present your Kanban cards to employees, co-workers, stakeholders, and clients.
3. Kanban Bin Systems:
Two- and three-bin Kanban systems are often useful for tracking inventory in certain workplace settings. They are generally used to replenish items in a supply setting, for example, in a production line or factory. Workers use them by pulling tasks from bin number one until the last task is complete. Once the bin has been emptied, the worker will then flip either the card or the bin, depending on the method used, and then begin working on the tasks in the second bin whilst the first one is replenished. The three-bin system allows an additional bin to be kept at the supplier’s location for inventory.
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4. Wall Mounted Card-Holders and Racks:
Wall-mounted card holders and racks provide a traditional, tried-and-tested method of using Kanban cards to improve productivity and efficiency in the workplace. They are ideal for material handling environment but can be used for almost any workplace where project progress needs to be visible to the teams, to aid with the smooth flow of projects and improve collaboration and communication.
Rather than signal cards which represent the capacity or demand of a task, Kanban cards in wall-mounted holders will generally make use of items such as post-it notes, push-pins or magnets to represent each work item. As they travel around the board, each object correlates to business processes such as items in production, for example.
Which Kanban display method is best for your company?
Guest Author: Zoe Price Zoe Price is a young, aspiring writer and computer science graduate who spends as much of her free time as possible on the web. When she's not writing, she's reading. She's always trying to learn and digest new information so that she can stay on top of whatever stories she wishes to write about.