Kanban Glossary

Traffic Light-Kanban

Divided, in ascending order, into the colours red, yellow, and green, the Kanban planning boards display the status of a work process.

Order Control

The order control defines the tasks that occur during an order, from the order itself to the delivery.


With the help of Kanban containers, the material flow during production is controlled and monitored.

Throughout time

Time that an oder or product requires to go through the production process.

Flow Production

Production system, in which a product is produced without interruption in coordinated, consecutive work processes.  


Method of production control, in which material is “ordered” by the using process from the upstream process. This results in an optimisation of the material consumption.


This serves as controlling element and information carrier, containing all relevant information for every participant in the value added process.


The eight most important rules that ensure the smooth running of the Kanban system.


Central planning medium, from which material requirements and stock can be seen immediately and which thus offers employees the option to coordinate work flows themselves.

LEAN Production

LEAN production is the economic and efficient use of production factors.


Method for the optimisation of material flow, in which a participant of the value added process acts once the downstream participant gives the order. This results in lower inventory.


Production and material flow are planned centralisticly. Therefore, material and products run through a number of production steps according to this central planning. Thereby, a higher delivery capability results, however also a higher capital commitment through high inventory.

Control Loop

A Kanban control loop is made up of a using production step (sink) and an upstream process (source) that are connected through a so-called buffer stock. As soon as the sink needs materials, the source receives a Kanban card representing the order to fill the buffer stock.


Comparison of the Kanban control loop with a supermarket. The using production step (sink) symbolises the customer who takes goods out of the supermarket, the upstream step (source) the person stocking the shelves, who provides goods again.

Circulating Stock

Inventory that is tied to the separate production steps through released orders in the course of the Kanban control loop.


In Kanban, there are seven kinds of “Muda” (Engl. waste) that must be avoided. These are: transportation, inventory, movement, waiting times, overproduction, wrong processes, errors / rejects.

Dual Circuit Kanban

In the dual circuit Kanban, two control loops are connected to each other, for example the control loop “production-storage” and “storage-supplier”.