Definition of kanban in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkanban/


1 (also kanban system) [mass noun] A Japanese manufacturing system in which the supply of components is regulated through the use of an instruction card sent along the production line.
Example sentences
  • 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.
1.1 [count noun] An instruction card used in a kanban system.
Example sentences
  • 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.


Late 20th century: Japanese, literally 'billboard, sign'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: kan¦ban

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