Have you ever wondered how large corporations and manufacturing companies manage workflow? Most use the Kanban management system to reduce wastage and at the same time improve efficiency.
What is Kanban?
A Kanban system uses visual cues to signal when a particular action should occur. It is a technique that requires the use of cards and boards to visualize the work process to identify and eliminate bottlenecks. The system is one of the simplest and most efficient ways of managing and improving workflow in an organization. Below are some of the main principles of the Kanban system that can help improve productivity.
The human brain processes visual information better than just raw data. For example, charts and graphs provide a better understanding of information than relying on raw data. Kanban brings a similar kind of visualization in the workplace to improve the flow of work. A visual representation of the work process helps to identify and correct problems in a better way than merely relying on data.
In the kanban system, each task and process is visually represented, including other relevant information. This is a better way of making processes in the organization visible and understandable. When everybody in the organization knows what they are required to do, it becomes easy to identify and correct impediments like bottlenecks. The process becomes even more effective when there is efficient communication.
Limit work in progress
One of the major aspects of the Kanban system is the reduction in the number of tasks done at any particular moment. Multitasking on different tasks at the same time reduces efficiency. Therefore, limiting the work in progress can be advantageous in a number of ways. First, it helps to properly prioritize and focus on the work process. Secondly, it helps to eliminate poor decision making by reducing the number of tasks of individual team members and management. This also prevents common mistakes of trying to accomplish numerous tasks at once. Limitation on the WIP will ensure that every bit of work is handled efficiently, which significantly increases productivity.
The flow of work
Correctly implementing the first two principles will significantly improve the flow of work. However, focusing on the actual flow of work is also enshrined in the Kanban system. In fact, focusing on the actual flow of work should be an essential part of implementing the system. While the Kanban system is mainly used to manage specific tasks that make up the larger process framework, relevant data is collected to give a better understanding. This enables an organization to improve visualization and the work process.
The Kanban system provides an organization with a lot of benefits in the management of the day-to-day operations. It helps to have continuous improvement of the work process in the long run. Apart from efficient management of tasks, the Kanban system enables the identification of other essential opportunities on a regular basis. If the process is continuously repeated, small improvement efforts can start to influence the performance of the organization. This not only leads to the increase in productivity but also efficiency and competitiveness.