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2 BIN Kanban systems

Kanban is a widely used visual tool within Lean Manufacturing and is often combined with Just in Time (JIT). It is a signaling system that indicates when specific needs, such as parts or consumables, are required on the shop floor. The Kanban principle is simple yet highly efficient within large organizations with a Pull orientation. Its success is due to its simplicity, and it comes in different types, but the basic principle remains the same: a Kanban signal prompts an entity to execute, produce or supply. The goal of the Kanban system is to reduce intermediate stocks in the chain.

Kanban indicates what needs to be delivered, when it needs to be delivered, and in what quantity it needs to be delivered. The Kanban card plays an essential role in this. When the product exceeds a minimum value, a trigger for replenishment of the product follows. This is a feature of a Pull system where consumption drives demand, and Kanban contributes to creating a demand-driven production system. In recent years, electronic Kanban systems have become prevalent and send an electronic Kanban signal.

A Kanban card contains crucial aspects such as customer, part number, part description, number, and location. These cards are often equipped with a barcode to process all information at once, making manual administrative tasks unnecessary.


Kanban basics process flow Re-Order-It

Advantages in Healthcare

Kanban is a popular inventory management system that utilizes the principles of just-in-time production, a philosophy that emphasizes a lean approach to production and inventory management. The two-bin kanban system offers several advantages for businesses, including those in production, logistics, and inventory management.

One significant advantage of the two-bin kanban system is the prevention of stockouts and the reduction of requests for out-of-stock items. For instance, Radboud hospital had zero stockouts and zero manual requisitions after they initially switched to the two-bin kanban system. This is possible as two-bin kanban is not simply a restocking protocol, but an inventory management system that actively generates data about supply usage. This data can be used to build accurate models to determine the ideal bin size and stocking frequency to reduce stockouts and minimize idle inventory.

No counting required

Another advantage of the two-bin kanban system is quicker restocking. Unlike the PAR system which requires counting of every item, two-bin kanban essentially requires no counting. Each returned bin automatically triggers a count of 0, and the counts can be entered manually by scanning each bin. A faster method is having the bins pass over an RFID scanner that registers each bin count as 0. Each time a bin is restocked, it is stocked to the same level, optimizing the restocking processes by creating a standardized workflow. In addition, the original container on the supply room shelf can be refilled directly in central supply, reducing the intermediary step of placing items from central supply into a temporary bin before they are moved to the shelf in the supply rooms.

Avoid expration

Kanban can also reduce idle inventory and increase inventory selection. As the turnover of supply is closely monitored, those items that are not used can be removed, creating space for more useful items. Radboud had a 61% reduction in inventory. Additionally, the two-bin kanban system can reduce the expiration of items. Supply is rotated in bins via a process of ‘first-in, first-out’. This way, each bin is emptied before the second one is used, reducing the risk that small items remain in the bottom of a bin unused.

Overall, the two-bin kanban system is an effective and efficient inventory management system that offers numerous benefits for businesses in production, logistics, and inventory management.

Setup your storage room

As any business owner or manager knows, an efficient and well-organized inventory space is crucial to the success of the business. Fortunately, there are a variety of methods available to optimize inventory management, and one of the most popular is the 2-bin Kanban system.

The 2-bin Kanban system is a lean manufacturing technique aimed at minimizing waste and optimizing inventory efficiency. By using this system, you can better manage your inventory levels, reduce overstocking, and save time and money.

To get started with the 2-bin Kanban system, here are 10 tips for setting up your stockroom(s):

  1. Determine the suitable location: Choose a location that is accessible to all involved departments and has enough space for all materials used in the 2-bin Kanban system.

  2.  Use the right bins and contents: Use bins or drawers that match the size of the materials and are light, sturdy, and easy to clean. Before setting up your 2-bin Kanban system, determine your current inventory levels and usage rates to order the right amount of material and prevent excess stock.

  3. Determine the maximum capacity of the bins: Determine the maximum capacity of the bins based on daily requirements and the number of days it takes to deliver new stock.

  4. Visualize: Label the bins clearly with the name of the material and product code (GTIN). In healthcare, colored bins or indications can be used to indicate the type of product.

  5. Choose the correct signaling: Provide a system that makes it immediately clear which product is in stock and which item is already on order to prevent double ordering.

  6. Train the staff: Educate staff on the 2-bin Kanban system so they understand the kanban cards and how to refill the bins and order new stock.

  7. Create order procedures: Create a clear order procedure that describes how and when a new order should be placed and how the entire settlement is handled. Determine who refills the bins in the storage area and ensure this procedure is followed to avoid shortages.

  8. Carry out regular checks: Assess stock levels and make sure bins are stocked and refilled correctly to prevent expiration and ensure the system works according to the FIFO principle. Deliveries from the central warehouse to the storage rooms should be according to the FEFO principle.

  9. Determine the storage locations: Place running articles in a room close to the entrance to avoid searching and walking time.

  10. Use our Re-Order-It system: Our combined visual and digital solution saves time, avoids errors, avoids overstock, avoids training time and integrates seamlessly with your existing WMS or ERP solution. 


By following these tips and implementing the 2-bin Kanban system, you can optimize your inventory management, make it lean and improve the success of your business.

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