Different Types of Kanban Boards and Card Holders
Since it was introduced in the 1950’s by Toyota Production System founder Taiichi Ohno, Kanban has been adopted by thousands of companies in pursuit of success.
Kanban cards exist to track progress. Doing so helps each member of a business team stay up-to-date, allowing them to easily determine which strategies are useful and which aren’t. But, if you’re using Kanban cards to track progress, then you will need a way to display them. This enables your team to see the progress status on various projects or on the overall business. There are many methods to choose from when it comes to displaying Kanban cards in the workplace.
Here are some of the different types of Kanban boards and card holders explained.
Online Kanban Boards
In today’s digital world, online Kanban boards are a must in any office practicing the Lean Six Sigma method. With an online Kanban board, you can use your laptop, tablet or smartphone to visualize, manage your workflow, and engage in real-time collaboration on various projects with your team members. Online Kanban boards emulate their offline counterparts using apps, but they offer so much more: faster work completion, better efficiency, improved flexibility, and more transparency.
One of the biggest advantages of opting for an online Kanban board is that they offer easy customization. Using your device, you can effortlessly change the ways in which you deal with the designation of lanes or columns. You can also easily adjust the Kanban card to fit in with the details of your project.
Agile Kanban Boards
The term ‘Agile’ was first coined in relation to Kanban almost twenty years ago, in a manifesto written by a 17-strong authorship team of independent software developers. Agile offers a flexible, interactive approach to using Kanban cards for business. The methods allow teams to divide the development process into smaller, manageable segments, enabling easier changes as work progresses, and minimizing the risk of a stand-still.
Although Agile teams are likely to need a more complex set of options than the ‘to do, doing, done’ of basic Kanban, the adaptability of the system is what makes it so popular. Using Agile Kanban boards, teams can accept incremental changes, visually present complex tasks, workflows and progress, and improve the transparency of their workplace projects and collaborations. Using Kanban in Agile development allows you to visually track where work is becoming backlogged in any lane. You can then take more informed action steps when setting limits, ensuring that the workflow runs smoothly.
Excel Kanban Boards
One of the simplest ways to present your Kanban cards is to create a board using Excel, a software program that all Microsoft Office users have access to. If you do not use Microsoft Office, you can create Kanban boards for free online using Google Sheets.
To create a Kanban board in Excel (or Google Sheets), name the columns of your sheet to reflect each work progress stage: To-Do, Doing, Done, along with any further stages relevant to the project. This Kanban board method is popular, as it not only allows you to retain all the functionality of tracking a project using Excel, but it also allows for enhanced flexibility and visibility, which takes advantage of Kanban principles.
An alternative to using Excel is to use PowerPoint. This popular slide show software makes it easy to showcase or present your Kanban cards to staff, clients or stakeholders.
Kanban Bin Systems
In certain workplace settings, 2-bin and 3-bin Kanban systems can be used to track inventory. Used for replenishing items in a supply setting, such as a production line or other kind of factory, a worker will pull tasks from bin number one until the last task is complete.
Once the bin is emptied, the worker will flip the Kanban card (or the bin, in some cases) and begin on the tasks in the second bin, while the first one is replenished. When using a 3-bin Kanban system, one bin should be kept at the supplier’s location for inventory.
Wall Mounted Card-Holders and Racks
Wall-mounted racks or card-holders provide a traditional, yet effective, method of using Kanban cards to improve efficiency and productivity. Ideal for material handling environments, these racks or card-holders can help with the smooth flow of both projects and communication.
Rather than the usual signal cards, which represent capacity or demand on a task, Kanban cards in wall-mounted holder utilizes items such as magnets, sticky notes, or push-pins for representing each work item. As it travels around the board, each object correlates to a business process such as an item in production.
Kanban cards are one of the most versatile aids for business process improvement. The large assortment of methods available for displaying Kanban cards in the workplace allows any company to successfully adapt them to their needs.