Meaning of kanban in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkanban/


mass noun
  • 1

    (also kanban system)
    A Japanese manufacturing system in which the supply of components is regulated through the use of an instruction card sent along the production line.

    ‘In the electronic kanban system Mathis decided to move to, the inventory database would go online.’
    • ‘Eiji and Ohno came up with the kanban system of labeling, an early precursor to bar codes, to keep the flow of parts smooth.’
    • ‘Buyers must know that their suppliers can hit delivery windows in this age of just-in-time and kanban manufacturing, and rely on them to maintain quality and manufacturing capacity.’
    • ‘This helps in implementing kanban internally and helps supply chain partners see the consumption of inventory, shipments, and on-order inventory against actual production.’
    • ‘In short, this is automated ‘pull’ capabilities leading toward real-time vendor managed inventory and kanban processing.’
    1. 1.1count noun An instruction card used in a kanban system.
      ‘Continue to allocate kanbans to the highest valued cell using the same conventions as above.’
      • ‘When the kanbans are full, the preceding operation stops producing until a kanban space is once again available.’
      • ‘Participants will learn how to develop and deploy kanbans for real-time shop floor production scheduling and inventory management.’
      • ‘Kanbans also work where components are the same or similar and can be replenished by kanbans.’


1970s Japanese, literally ‘billboard, sign’.