Did you know that Kanban can be used to manage office activities and is considered a lean office tool? Toyota’s famous production system has brought a number of new concepts to the market. One well-known part of the Toyota system was Kanban.

What is Kanban?

In 1950s Japan, Toyota, one of the country’s leading companies, was going through an extremely troubling time. Dealing with scarce resources and technological problems, the Japanese giant was having difficulty. Toyota sought to develop a new production system that would bring more profit with less waste. This effort created what would later be known as the Toyota production system.

Searching for profit through sustainability, Toyota’s philosophy led them to one of the pillars “Just in Time,often confused with Kanban.

Just in time, or JIT, is a technique that produces based on the needs of the market, eliminating the costs of maintaining inventory and producing on demand. While JIT is the process of manufacturing products in the right quantity and at the right time, the Kanban system was a tool created to administer JIT.

One of the basic concepts of this system is to produce in the smallest batch possible, ideally one item at a time. This concept can be applied in service companies to help manage the often chaotic scenario of various activities being performed at the same time. As a result, Kanban is a tool with great potential to increase productivity in transaction and stage-driven activities.

How the method works

In the literal translation of Japanese, the term Kanban means “card.”That’s a great way to describe the Kanban system. The method consists of using cards (sometimes post-it notes if a digital tool isn’t being used) to indicate and visualize production progress or flow of the company. This system was famous for using very few resources, making it practical and easy to understand.

The Kanban system corresponds to a framework in which all the tasks of a particular project or sector of the company are arranged. The highly visual nature of Kanban enables employees to easily understand deadlines and milestones that need to be met.

It’s popular to organize this framework with two main axes: one for tasks and one for stages. On the first axis are all the task cards that need to be performed. The second axis is composed of the different statuses, such as “in progress,” “finished,” “pending,” etc. In this layout, you simply insert the task card or post-it note in the axis corresponding to its status. It’s that easy! It can get more in-depth, streamlined, and fruitful when you start using digital toolsthat integrate this process too.

It might seem simple and compared to today’s technology, even outdated, but Kanban still works very well.

Employees have access to so many new tools, but often the simple visualization of tasks helps best.

Textual information is not always well understood by all and it is often necessary to re-formulate it or even re-explain it entirely. The Kanban system, however, follows the famous saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” As such, it exploits the visual processing capabilities of our brains, which operates much faster than us reading just plain text.

By organizing the flow of activities for a project or company aspect and using a highly visual framework, you will help your employees see progress in a much easier way. This means that communication between those involved with pending tasks will be done in a simpler and more illustrative way.

The best part…

You can manage your meetings, projects, tasks, & more better than ever with Kanban and other tools on the TEAMS platform made by Lux Systems.


About the Author

This article was produced by Fractal Solutions LLC.

Recently Published

Top Picks

Key Takeaway: Tech industry leaders are discussing the convergence between humans and machines, inspired by transhumanism. Elon Musk’s company Neuralink aims to facilitate this convergence, aiming to prevent humans from being left behind in technology advancements. Transhumanists advocate for the three “supers” of superintelligence, superlongevity, and superhappiness. Companies like OpenAI, DeepMind, and Anthropic are racing […]
Key Takeaway: Racial and gender bias in artificial intelligence algorithms and language models has been a concern in social robots, which are designed to interact with diverse groups of people. Socially assistive robotics aims to create machines that will help people help themselves, but these robots often do not reflect basic aspects of society’s diversity. […]
Key Takeaway: 13-year-old Willis Gibson became the first human to beat the original Nintendo version of Tetris, dedicating his win to his father. Most gamers are not lazy or mindless, with memorable achievements ranging from heroic to bizarre. Speedrunning, a popular gaming subculture, involves players optimizing routes and exploiting glitches to complete games in minutes. […]
Key Takeaway: Shared attention amplifies experiences and builds relationships, according to studies in various countries. Research shows that synchronous attention with others yields stronger memories, deeper emotions, and firmer motivations. This can be observed in labs across the US, Australia, Hungary, Germany, and Denmark. Shared attention can also build relationships across the political divide and […]
Key Takeaway: Disney has a rich musical legacy, with landmark films featuring musical numbers that remain household favourites today. The studio’s first sound film, Steamboat Willie, (1928), established Disney as the leading animation studio. The silent era of cinema (1923-1928) saw films without soundtracks but often accompanied by local organists or pianists. The Alice Comedies […]


I highly recommend reading the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, “Reskilling China: Transforming The World’s Largest Workforce Into Lifelong Learners”, which focuses on the country’s biggest employment challenge, re-training its workforce and the adoption of practices such as lifelong learning to address the growing digital transformation of its productive fabric. How to transform the country […]

Join our Newsletter

Get our monthly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.


Welcome to Empirics

We are glad you have decided to join our mission of gathering the collective knowledge of Asia!
Join Empirics