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Heijunka Board – The next Level of Kanban

Heijunka Board - The Japanese Approach
To fully achieve a pull process across your production the Kanban process will reach its limits. But what is the Heijunka board and how does it help us in terms of a pull? Let us talk about this Japanese lean tool.

Heijunka Board – The next Level of Kanban

What is the Heijunka Board?

Kanban is one of the magic terms when talking about lean and lean manufacturing. But it has its limits though. To produce according to the customer needs further information have to be passed across the shop floor. To do so the Heijunka board comes into play.

The Heijunka board is quite similar to a Kanban board but has some additions. Though the board is linked to a production leveling, the board itself does not level production. It focus’ more on visualizing the shop floor.

Heijunka Board – But how do I implement it?

To make a start the Heijunka board is divided into 24 sections. Each section contains the production orders for 1 particular hour, from first shift 6am to first shift 6am the day after.

Let’s say we want to produce 10 parts each hour. For that purpose, we place Heijunka cards inside each section like in the picture below. The card contains all information required to produce 10 parts and works according to a production order.

Heijunka Board - Heijunka Card Example

Each cycle the dedicated line Feeder, better the Mizusumashi, picks a card from the box, picks all material required to produce the 10 parts mentioned on the card, delivers all materials to the production line and handovers the Heijunka card to the line operators. The line operators then have all they need for the next set of parts (10 parts in particular).

The Heijunka board itself acts as a tool for process visualization. In case of breakdown the line will stop operating. That will lead to a delay of cards picked on the Heijunka board. If no cards are picked you will realize a deviation from the time slot given by the section and the actual time, for example: If it is 10am and the production line is delayed, you will see Heijunka cards still placed in the board of before 10am, i. e. 9am, 8am and so on. In that case you will realize just by checking the board when a delay in production took place.

The Lean Toolbox – Getting started with Heijunka

As the Heijunka board is a quite powerful tool it took a major part in the Lean toolbox we prepared for you here in more details. Feel free to download the toolbox and start thinking about how you finally can implement the foundation of a lean production system on your shop floor.

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