Integral Logistics Management — Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Within and Across Companies

6.3.3 Kanban: Long- and Medium-Term Planning

Intended learning outcomes: Describe the role of a long-term plan (and, if required, a medium-term plan for resources according to an MRP II concept. Identify the lean / JIT principles that must be implemented as prerequisites for a successful implementation of the Kanban technique.


The last rule for Kanban use in Figure 6.3.1.4 indicated that Kanban requires some long- and medium-term planning tasks. This planning is independent of the Kanban feedback loop. In detail, planning must fulfill the following tasks:

  • Devise a long-term plan (and, if required, a medium-term plan) for resources accor­ding to an MRP II concept (manufacturing resource planning): Firstly, determine the master plan (independent demand) based on forecast (ad hoc or using techniques described in Chapter 10) or based, occasionally, on customer demand (see Sections 5.2.1 and 12.2.1). Secondly, calculate gross requirement to determine required resources in the form of purchased goods and capacity (Section 5.2.2). Thirdly, develop long-term contracts with suppliers (blanket orders; see Section 5.2.4); if necessary, fine-tune release quantities in medium-term planning.
  • Determine the type and number of Kanban cards for each feedback loop (see Section 6.3.2). Analyses of deviations will reveal those feedback loops that require reexamination of the number of Kanban cards so that overstock in buffers and interruptions in the loop can be corrected. This is done by means of the targeted addition or removal of Kanbans.
  • Control actual load through the Kanban systems by, for example registering Kanbans dispatched from the buffer (order releases), and registering incoming Kanbans in the buffer (incoming material in the buffer).

As mentioned in Section 6.2.4, Kanban techniques cannot be simply grafted onto an existing organization of production (such as job shop production). JIT principles, listed below in brief, must be implemented first:

  • Clear layout of the organization; that is, the workstations and machines required to make the product are located close together and in the sequence that corresponds to the flow of goods (see Section 6.2.2, approaches 1 and 2).
  • Small batch sizes, connected with a drastic reduction in setup times (see Section 6.2.1).
  • Adherence to exact quantities. The scrap factor aims toward a “zero defects” program, with workstations personally responsible for quality control of components they produce (see Section 6.2.4 on quality assurance).
  • Preventive maintenance forestalls machine downtime. It should increasingly eliminate the need for repairs that traditionally take place only once the machine breaks down (endangering delivery). Interdisciplinary troubleshooting teams provide help here (see Section 6.2.2, approach 3).
  • Adherence to short delivery lead times. This demands adequate ca­pacity and operator flexibility (see Section 6.2.2, approach 3).

Quiz: Find the correct answers to the following questions - not yet available
1. Which long and medium term planning tasks does kanban require ?
2. Which measures should be implemented before using kanban ?

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Course section 6.3: Subsections and their intended learning outcomes

  • 6.3 The Kanban Technique

    Intended learning outcomes: Explain Kanban as a technique of execution and control of operations as well as a technique of materials management. Disclose the adequate long- and medium-term planning for Kanban.

  • 6.3.1 Kanban: A Technique of Execution and Control of Operations

    Intended learning outcomes: Describe the Kanban card. Explain the Kanban feedback loop. Present in detail Kanban rules of order release and control of the feedback control system.

  • 6.3.2 Kanban: A Technique of Materials Management

    Intended learning outcomes: Present in detail the basic data for calculating the number of Kanban cards. Identify the number of Kanban cards in the system. Explain Formula to calculate the number of Kanban cards.

  • 6.3.3 Kanban: Long- and Medium-Term Planning

    Intended learning outcomes: Describe the role of a long-term plan (and, if required, a medium-term plan for resources according to an MRP II concept. Identify the lean / JIT principles that must be implemented as prerequisites for a successful implementation of the Kanban technique.

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