Ekanban: a digital solution for lean manufacturing

Kanban is a technique that was developed by the engineers at Toyota with an important aim: to increase the efficiency of the manufacturing process. Since then, it has become widely used not only in the automotive but also other industrial sectors. Being one of the key methods of lean manufacturing (also referred to as just-in-time manufacturing or pull system), the kanban system allows for efficient production scheduling and material movement based on customer requests. Kanban cards are used to indicate when more goods are needed. In other words, you only produce when it is necessary and thus avoid unnecessary inventories.

Industry 4.0 and ekanban

The Industry 4.0 revolution is all about digital transformation. Digital solutions have started replacing the traditional paper-based ones, the kanban system being no exception. Compared to manual kanban systems, electronic kanban (ekanban) systems bring a number of benefits, including:

  • easy tracking every step of the way (even with a high number of kanban cards)
  • no printing, no lost kanban cards
  • access to real-time information about the current status of production, open orders as well as inventories (and possible shortages)
  • transparency and efficient communication – everybody has access to the same data
  • a more flexible response to fluctuating customer demand
  • quick and easy reporting
  • the possibility to analyze not only real-time but also historical data and continuously improve the production process

Productoo eKanban solution

The ekanban application Production Control offers an extensive functionality that allows for multi-level production planning, scheduling and execution. It enables the digitalization of process workflow for both make-to-order and make-to-stock production strategies. You can use it as a standalone solution or we can integrate it with your existing ERP (SAP) or other 3rd party systems. And if you decide to implement it with other Productoo applications, you will get the most out of the Smart Factory experience.

Some of the top features of Production Control include:

  • Automatic material replenishment based on MRP (Material Requirements Planning)
  • Multi-level production planning (semi-finished lines, final assembly lines)
  • Multiple methods of ekanban sequencing (drag&drop, fully automatic mode, smart suggestions)
  • Parallel planning
  • Line feeder view (to avoid material shortages)
  • Outbound deliveries view (for a quick overview of customer orders)
  • Shopfloor screens for production declaration (connect to your current MES system or use as a standalone MES)
  • Integration with any application via API (connect to your ERP system such as SAP or any other 3rd party application)