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e-Kanban

The Kanban method for replenishment control in production is now firmly established in many large companies in the manufacturing industry, even outside the automotive industry. For the most part, the classic method is used with cards, which are usually collected either on Kanban boards or in "mailboxes". Only a few companies use the possibility of e-Kanban so far, i.e. the direct connection of the "analog" Kanban cards with the central IT system of the company. Such a link has clear advantages: With e-Kanban the information about the demand is sent electronically to the warehouse. The cards do not have to be collected by the collection point before the replenishment point knows which goods are needed at the processing point (the sink). This means that the goods arrive at the sink more quickly and the replenishment is even more precisely matched to demand, which means that the inventory can be reduced by another piece.

An elegant way to get the data from the card into the computer system is by using RFID technology. Here the kanban cards are equipped with an RFID transponder, which can also be retrofitted to existing cards without problems.

A special Kanban mailbox is used as a collection point, which is equipped with an RFID reader, which is connected to a server via the company network. As soon as a card is thrown into the box, the replenishment point is informed that there is a demand for a product. Since the entire process is already available in electronic form, a click is all that is needed at the warehouse to confirm delivery and to remove the goods from the warehouse management system. This also eliminates the need for manual entries, which increases data accuracy.