Kanban scheduling can be simply stated as demand scheduling. In Kanban, the products are produced based on actual usage rather than a forecasted usage. Therefore, a Kanban scheduling process to be considered a true Kanban the production process it controls must:
- Only produce product to replace the product consumed by its customer
- Only produce product based on signals sent its customers
The Kanban schedule replaces the traditional weekly or daily production schedule most of us have become familiar with in manufacturing operations. This schedule is replaced with visual signals and predetermined decision rules that allow the production operators to schedule the line. Think of Kanban scheduling as an execution tool rather than a planning tool. Kanban replaces the daily scheduling activities necessary to operate the process and the need for supervisors to continuously monitor scheduled status to determine the next item needed. This is done all through visual signals within the Kanban.
Why would you want to implement Kanban?
Kanban is a tool that controls your work in process. In marketing that would be your number of prospects within your Value Stream. Most organizations fail to recognize the hidden costs in overhead, effort, lost prospects that were never prospects, support material, and other service related activities. Work in process reductions together with these factors can make Kanban a competitive edge in today’s business environment. The benefits of Kanban can become a driver for creating a culture of continuous process improvement when the improvements are translated directly into work in process.
Just reducing the work in process forces you to better understand your marketing value Stream. It forces you to recognize how that marketing value stream relates target customer and how they need to be segmented for more focused efforts. When you are forced to constrict the numbers of organizations or individuals that you are dealing with, you will be reminded of the comfort levels and informal walls that allowed these levels to be build up over time. An added plus is that you will start using much more realistic data to formulate these decisions. It is not easy to say that you will stop marketing to a certain segment or group.
In many marketing processes it is more about growing the sales funnel with leads, which in lean terms is overproduction. The very nature of Kanban scheduling process sets up maximum and minimum work in process levels. These levels should be controlled by setting up control points, setting up for better sales channels (segmentation) provide directions for moving the process forward. The Kanban also gives individuals much better guidance on what is needed and just in its nature will allow better utilization of your human resources. It will also readily identify the constraints and bottlenecks within your process.
These levels can also signal for when and when not to accelerate marketing actions. You avoid the issue of should you or shouldn’t you increase targeted efforts in very various stages of your marketing process.
As a result of this, it will improve the flow of the entire sales and marketing process needed and who it needs to be directed at. Controlling these levels should also create shorter flow cycles that will prevent you from working on activities or creating material that is becomes dated or obsolete.
How do you start?
One of the best ways to learn and start implementing Kanban if it does indeed have all these fantastic benefits is to do it on a personal level first. My guest tomorrow on the Business901 Podcast is Jim Benson, the founder of Personal Kanban. In addition, this week’s blogging will talk about implementing a Marketing Kanban.
Therefore, a Marketing Kanban scheduling process to be considered a true Kanban the marketing process it controls must:
- Only produce material/services that add value to the customer decision making process for their established need.
- Only produce material/services based on signals sent from your customers
Background for this post came from the book Kanban Made Simple