• What is Kanban?
    Kanban is a Japanese word based on the Japanese word "Kan" for card and "ban" for signal. Kanban is a replenishment process where each lot has an assigned card. Whenever a lot is consumed, the card is sent to the supplying work center as a re-order signal. Since manufacturers re-order what they use, the system helps align inventory and orders to actual consumption. The physical cards and Kanban boards which collect all on order cards create a very visual system that allows anyone in the plant to recognize and act on a potential stock-out before it happens. As manufacturers align their inventory with demand and reduce stock-outs they typically see significant improvements in lead times, on-time delivery and inventory reduction.
  • What is the difference between Manual and Electronic Kanban?
    While both manual and electronic Kanban use the same basic underlying concepts, electronic Kanban allows users to implement Kanban with more broadly with more products. With the internet, electronic Kanban allows users to easily send Kanban signals to suppliers across town and around the world. A typical manual Kanban system becomes difficult to manage when the number of parts on the system exceeds one hundred parts and a few hundred Kanban cards. An electronic system can scale to manage tens of thousands of parts and hundreds of thousands of Kanban cards.
  • What is Lean Manufacturing?
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development (http://web.mit.edu/ctpid), one of the authorities on modern manufacturing techniques, states that "Lean production is aimed at the elimination of waste in every area of production including customer relations, product design, supplier networks and factory management. Its goal is to incorporate less human effort, less inventory, less time to develop products and less space to become highly responsive to customer demand while producing top quality products in the most efficient and economical manner possible."

    From Ultriva's perspective, while the above is true, many customers struggle in their journey to Lean after only achieving basic gains in waste elimination. These customers often start out lacking a vision of where Lean should take them. In its most advanced form, lean processes enable highly flexible manufacturing that can instantly shift its product mix to meet changes in demand while maintaining the lowest costs and the shortest lead times. As was pioneered by Toyota in automotive manufacturing, companies that are successful in the adoption of Lean achieve long-lasting competitive advantages.
  • What is a Pull-Based Replenishment?
    A "pull-based" systems drives production and replenishment based on downstream customers orders or consumption. Pull-based techniques ensure the flow of resources in production process by only replacing material once it is consumed. Kanban is the most common form of pull-based replenishment, but min/max and CONWIP are other techniques that can be used to implement pull-based replenishment.

  • How long will it take to get up and running?
    Kanban.com Supply Chain is self-paced, so you can deploy at your own pace. It is recommended that you choose a subset of items and suppliers for your initial implementation, for example 5 suppliers and 50 parts. Implement them one supplier (and their associated parts) at a time, then add more parts and suppliers as you’re ready. You can be up and running in as little as a few hours.
  • How many people will it take to get Kanban.com up and running?
    With Kanban.com, it is recommended that you assign a Kanban.com lead or project owner. You do not need a large team. Additional roles are as follows:
    • Setup: usually a buyer or an inventory control person
    • Buyer: to monitor exceptions, review supplier performance
    • Material Handler: to track receipts and consumption of raw materials
    Please see our demo to get a better understanding of the roles, or if you have already subscribed to the service, view the role-based training presentations or read the online documentation.
  • Does Kanban.com Supply Chain require training?
    Kanban.com Supply Chain does not require any classroom training. The screens are self-explanatory and the system includes both on-line help and short online training sessions.

On-going Processes
  • What processes have to change to derive the most benefit from Kanban.com Supply Chain?
    The differences between a push to a pull system are:
    1. How orders are created and
    2. The importance of Kanban cards on the shop floor.
    The use of a forecast changes significantly. Instead of using the forecast to drive weekly orders, the forecast will be used as a long term planning tool. Buyers will use the forecast to identify major swings in raw material requirements. These include product introductions and phase-outs, promotions, and new customer wins. In these situations, the buyer will use this forecast information to either increase or decrease the number of Kanban cards within the system. Also, with a Kanban system, it is very important that material handlers scan material as it is pulled out of your raw material stores.
  • What kind of investment is required from my Suppliers?
    None. Your suppliers need only an internet connection, a browser and a printer.
  • Can I use this for custom orders and seasonal demand?
    Yes. In addition to traditional Kanban cards, Kanban.com Supply Chain gives you the ability to create "one-time" orders.
  • I have an MRP/ERP system.  Can I keep them in synch?
    Yes. Each day you will be able to download a file of all receipts. You can then either manually create receipts in your ERP system or upload the Kanban receipts directly into your ERP system.

Support and Maintenance of Kanban.com Supply Chain
  • What kind of support can I expect?
    E-mail support is included with your monthly subscription plan. Phone consulting can be arranged and is billable at an hourly rate. For more information or to submit a support request, click here to go to the Services page.
  • Is there a separate maintenance fee?
    No. Maintenance is included in the monthly subscription fee.
  • Is Kanban.com Supply Chain hard to maintain?
    No – Kanban.com Supply Chain is accessed via the web through a browser (Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 and above), with all the software supplied through the web. It does not require you to provide any kind of database maintenance or other application software.
  • Do I need any IT resources?
    Because Kanban.com Supply Chain is a hosted service, there is no system maintenance. If you are manually entering receipts into your ERP system, there is no IT support required. If you want to upload the daily receipt files into your ERP system, IT may need to help you set this up.

Kanban.com Supply Chain Agreement
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The system is the foundation for "Leaning" the supply chain throughout the Rexnord business. The integration of Ultriva as a key business process is shortening the lead-time, reduce inventories and has reduced supply chain scheduling.

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Rexnord Corporation
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