You can be excused for not knowing what Kanban is, or not knowing that it is even something which exists. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Kanban probably sounds more like a type of Japanese food than anything else. It couldn’t be anything more different to this, though; Kanban is a type of project management method created by the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota during the 1940s. It was developed as a way to organize a company’s workflows and processes so that inefficiencies could easily be identified and then rectified.
For nearly six decades, Kanban was a relatively obscure method which exploded in popularity during the early 2000s when business leaders started to implement it for optimizing the development of software. Today, Kanban is applied across all disciplines, industries and leading companies to help the teams working on some of the world’s most exciting projects. It helps them to optimize their work through a proven system which helps to highlight inefficiencies, manage projects and deliver deep analytical insights.
There are several benefits to using Kanban tools in your business which we have detailed below.
#1: Kanban is Very Versatile
One idea which underpins Kanban is its versatility and the delivery of communication through visual aids and signals, and the benefits of this stretch across various industries. Because Kanban is applicable across all industries and jobs imaginable, it can be implemented and used by every single team and individual within a company, from design engineers to payroll, and thus is highly versatile. It is a seamless process which makes project management not just a breeze, but a pleasure.
#2: Kanban is Responsive
Because Kanban was started by Toyota within the automotive industry shortly after World War II, it was designed to be as efficient and responsive as possible. In terms of Toyota, Kanban only worked when inventory was low (this is similar to the “just in time” ideas applied in modern business) and this is one of Kanban’s major benefit; using it in project management, Kanban’s responsiveness makes it possible to quickly and efficiently respond to business needs as they arise and with much more agility.
#3: It is Always Improving
Whilst Kanban was for several decades one system which didn’t change very much, ever since it has been adopted by businesses throughout the entire world across a whole host of industries, it is something which is constantly being improved. Modern companies recognize just how important the use of Kanban is and, naturally, they are always working to make it better so that they can benefit from it further. In fact, another one of the core principles of the Kanban system is that everyone operating under it should always be focusing on their personal improvement and development. Because Kanban lets you visually see processes and review them, you can make improvements to workflows that reduce waste and overheads.
#4: It Reduces Inefficiencies and Increases Output
By the very nature of it, Kanban completely reduces inefficiencies whilst increasing output. It encourages your team members to control how much work they have going on at any one time and prevent themselves from taking on too much and overworking themselves. This is known as work-in-process and can prevent your employees from being inefficient due to having to handle more than they are capable of. Because inefficiency levels are reduced, it automatically improves output as your employees are more focused on the single task at hand rather than several at once, also avoiding the stresses that come with that.
#5: It Empowers Your Team
Kanban doesn’t just look after your workflows, it looks after your team too. A team which is being looked after will feel more empowered, and all this in addition to them only handling one task and benefitting from the implementation of a Kanban system means that they will be happier, more inclined to work harder, and have better job satisfaction. As an employer, it is your job to ensure that your employees are happy, healthy and working hard, and because Kanban largely does this automatically, it means you have more free time to focus on your job, too.
Invented by Toyota during the 1940s, the Kanban system disappeared into relative obscurity until it was revived by corporate professionals and applied to software development during the early 2000s. Today, it is used by virtually every serious business worldwide in a bid to maximize efficiency and empower employees. It is a relatively simple theory which can be applied to modern companies through the use of specialist Kanban tools. These can help automate workflows and analyze important data amongst other things.
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