me not when I learned of the concept,
but when I had my people start to
make the cards. We started with our
office supplies, and I couldn’t believe
the amount of questions we had when
it came to something as simple as purchasing pens. Where do we get them?
How many should we order? But if we
order 100 we get a better price, should
we get 100? There is a sale on a different kind; should we get that? What
tip do people prefer? What color do
we want? Should we get the BIC name
brand or a knock off?
As my frustration built, I just
wanted to scream “it’s pens, just get
them!” That’s when it hit me, I’m asking my purchasing people to make
these trivial decisions all day long,
surely this is pulling them away from
more critical tasks and a big contributor to the “there’s never enough time
in a day” syndrome.
It’s in the cards
Kanban cards are used globally by
countless companies in many different forms, from your standard paper
card to fully electronic kanban using
QR codes. If this is your first exposure
to kanban, stick with the cards; don’t
get sucked in by neat technology. The
cards are tried and true, low cost and
highly effective. Of the many styles of
cards out there, this is the best version
I have seen put into practice thus far.
Here is what a typical kanban card
looks like. On the front side, it has all
the pertinent information built in. So,
you only suffer through the thought
process once. You put all that think-
ing, research and knowledge into a
simple card and never again do you
task yourself with trying to figure out
what’s best for everyone. You simply
purchase what the card is calling for,
from whom it specifies in the reorder
The back of the card is for tracking.
The laminated cards are easy to clean
so when you order something, you write
in the date it was ordered. When that
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