Great Kanban Story from David Meier

Here is a story from David Meier, a former Group Leader at Toyota and the co-author of The Toyota Way Fieldbook and the upcoming Toyota Talent (April 2007).

He writes:
I am sure you have experienced the problem of how to attach kanban to cardboard boxes. We did not have too many cardboard boxes at Toyota so for the few we had it was not a big deal. We used bungee cord or rubber bands or slipped the kanban under the flaps.

In other companies there are many more boxes and it is a big challenge. A company I work with had a great idea. It started with one guy walking around Wal-Mart one night looking for an answer to this dilemma. He finally realized that a wood screw poked through the boxes would work so he experimented with it. It worked pretty well, but then there was a screw dangling from the kanban when not on the box.

Some time later another guy (his nick-name is Skinny) was working with the materials guy (nick-named Moose- I am not kidding those are their nicknames and I don’t know their real names) and Skinny relied on his previous experience in retail to develop an idea for the kanban. He suggested using one of those devices used to attach plastic tags to garments to attach kanban to boxes.

They bought a heavy-duty hand-held tag gun and gave it a try. As you can see from the photos it works great. This is one of the cleverest ideas that I have seen lately and since you are the king of kanban I thought you might like to spread a good idea. (Click on the pictures for larger views)

The company is MI Windows and Doors in Gratz, PA and the guys are coming up with some great ideas that I wanted to share. They bought the tag gun from ULINE at the link below. Make sure to but the heavy-duty needles. They are also looking at the unit that holds 1000 tags but I told that was over-production.

Post continues after ad...

Here is a link for the gun.

Post continues after ad...
Please check out my main blog page at www.leanblog.org

The RSS feed content you are reading is copyrighted by the author, Mark Graban.

, , , on the author’s copyright.

Please post a comment and join the discussion. Subscribe to get notified about posts daily or weekly.

Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

You might also like More from author

2 Comments

  1. Meikah Delid says

    This is perfect timing. Just got the book, The Toyota Way, and reading this post makes me want to dig right into it. It’s true that no matter how simple or complex a task is, system is the key.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.