Inventory management is a systematic approach to sourcing, storing, and selling inventory—both raw materials and finished goods. In Lean Manufacturing terms, it means managing the right stock, at the right levels, in the right place, at the right time, and at the right cost as well as price. Inventory management includes aspects such as controlling and overseeing purchases in view of maintaining the storage of stock, controlling the amount of product for sale, and order fulfilment. Lean Consultants can contribute significantly in controlling the wastes of higher inventory through strategic deployment of inventory management tools.
To manage inventory, one must have clarity of nature of it. Based on various factor, inventory can be classified in various ways. Popularly known classifications are:
KANBAN is nothing but a sign, signboard or signal that is specified for controlling information and regulating material conveyance. Kanban is thus a signalling device that gives authorization and instruction for the production or withdrawal of items/goods. Kanban coupled with takt time, flow processing, pull production and level scheduling is what enables JUST IN TIME production to be achieved in a value stream. Kanban can be triangular metal plates, coloured balls, electronic signals (When communicating over long distances or inter facility) or any other devices that can convey the needed information while preventing introduction of erroneous instructions.