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The specific Kanban is probably the best known and most used. It is simple as well of operation as of understanding. However, there are many pitfalls.


The specific kanban is the original kanban. Usually in the Shape of a label, it allows the flow to be drawn downstream by allowing the downstream Position to transmit the need to the upstream Position .

Description of a Specific Kanban system

Suppose a production workshop where the work position are positioned one after the other and where the production flux circulates from left to right passing on one Position then on the other…

It can be said in a simple way that the Specific Kanban method will consist of superposing to the physical flux of products a reverse flux of information.

In detail, if you look at what happens between two consecutive workstations, you can see the situation illustrated.

  1. Position 2 consumes parts machined by Position 1. Each time he uses a container of parts, he detaches a label called Kanban from it, which he returns to Position 1. This label constitutes for Position 1 A production order for a new parts container.
  2. When Position 1 has finished making the container, it attaches the Kanban to it. The container is then routed to Position 2.

Between two workstations, circulates a define number of Kanban (thus containers).

So the Kanban is:

  • be attached to containers waiting to be used in front of Position 2.
  • Either on a Kanban schedule at Position 1 waiting to be machining parts.

If there is no kanban on the schedule of Position 1, it mean that all kanban are attached to containers waiting to be consumed in front of Position 2. Position 2 is therefore very well stocked and Position 1 must not produce!

The rule of management at the level of a Position is therefore simple:

  • There are Kanban labels on the schedule of my Position, I produce.
  • If there is none, I must not produce !


Upstream upgrades are therefore directly driven by the needs of the downstream: we operate in pulled flow.

The system that we have just described reproduces itself between all the positions of the same workshop, taken two to two. A particular Kanban circulates only between two workstations. It thus appears on the Kanban the address of the upstream Position and the address of the downstream Position between which it circulates.

Characteristics of Kanban spécifiques labels

The Kanban is only the label attached to a container. It usually comes in the Shape of a rectangle of cardboard plastifié or not of small size. A certain amount of information is specified on a Kanban.

This information varies a lot according to the companies, but there is minimal indispensable information on all Kanban:

  • The reference of the manufactured Part .
  • The capacity of the container, and therefore the quantity to be produced.
  • The address or reference of the supplier upstream Position .
  • The address or reference of the client downstream Position .


Today, however, many companies with production lines apply the principles of the Kanban without a label.


S. Cheni (2013)-Kanban for the supply chain: fundamental practice for manufacturing management

Japan Management Association (1985)-Kanban Just In Time at Toyota: Management begins at the workplace

J. M. Gross, K. R. Mcinnis (2003)-Kanban Made Simple

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