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Migrating to using a kanban system? Many folks want to jump to solution quickly and harvest the cash that can be potentially freed up. Caution needs to be heeded and make sure you have the infrastructure well planned when working with external suppliers. Here some basic steps to consider …

1) Build your Plan For Every Part (PFEP) data base. This data base needs to contain the specific component dimensions, usage data, supplier location etc.

2) Consolidate your supplies into a supermarket arrangement instead of having them scattered across your organization.

3) Select a few key suppliers you want to work with. This can be based on supplier attitude, dollars purchased or geographic proximity to your location.

4) Define and engineer your replenishment and consumption routes so that they have a cadence which is predictable and repeatable.

5) Talk with your suppliers and explain what your plan is all about and include them early in the design process of your kanban.

6) Define your triggers, packaging is a great tool for kanban triggers. In some cases consider using flow-through packaging that be used by multiple suppliers that can add components along the supply chain as a means of kitting.

Kanban is a very powerful tool when it comes to inventory replenishment since it eliminates the noise inherited when using an MRP system such as Safety Stock, Move Times, Forecasted Demand, Substitutions etc. … all the stuff that removes your operation away from the actual customer demand.

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