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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.


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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.

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