Top-5 books about kanban in manufacturing

Article
30 Mar 2023

Kanban is one of the most well-known and widely used methods of management. It shows the entire workflow and allows employees to work on tasks to ensure that they meet the required deadlines.

Today, kanban is used as a project management method almost in any industry, but it was first integrated into manufacturing facilities and got its name from the same method that is used in lean manufacturing and Toyota production system.

So, we’re prepared a bit of a home read for you today, and picked top-5 books that will help you to introduce kanban methodology at your plant or factory. Some of them might be more than 10 years old, but the information explained is still relevant for plant managers at modern plants.

 

All About Pull Production: Designing, Implementing, and Maintaining Kanban, CONWIP, and other Pull Systems in Lean Production by Christopf Roser

All About Pull Production: Designing, Implementing, and Maintaining Kanban, CONWIP, and other Pull Systems in Lean Production by Christopf Roser book cover

If you saw our selection of books about the Lean Manufacturing, you might’ve noticed that it closely interconnected with other methodologies like Six Sigma, Agile, Scrum, and others. This book covers exactly that: the basics of all the most common project management methods and how you can create a working ecosystem within your facility and increase the overall productivity. 

The author does a great job at explaining complex concepts to people who haven’t had any prior experience, and focuses on practical examples rather than theory. The book will be valuable for both beginners and experienced practitioners, and is highly rated among professionals worldwide.

Kanban Just-in Time at Toyota: Management Begins at the Workplace by David John Lu

Kanban Just-in Time at Toyota: Management Begins at the Workplace by David John Lu book cover

“Nobody tells it as well as the Japanese who were on the shop floor when it was developed.” — says the tagline to the book. And if you look for professional literature that will introduce you to the insides of the Toyota Production System and how its most well-known methods, such as kanban, were developed, there’s no better read. 

This book describes the roots of TPS in an easy and eye-opening way, and gives you guidelines on how to apply this system at your facility, regardless of its size. If you’re only starting to dive into lean manufacturing and kanban methodologies, this can be a perfect starting point.

 

Kanban for the Shopfloor (The Shopfloor Series)

Kanban for the Shopfloor (The Shopfloor Series) book cover

Two things make this book unique. First, it explicitly states that it will teach you to apply the kanban methodology at the shop floor. Second, it was created by several authors and contains their grains of wisdom backed up by dozens of practical examples.

This book will be useful for plant managers of any level, but it will be even more helpful for regular shop floor workers and will teach them how to get into kanban and manage workflows on the lowest level without interruptions, logistical errors, or overproduction.

Add this book to the knowledge library at your facility and watch the transformation!

Kanban for the Supply Chain: Fundamental Practices for Manufacturing Management by Stephen Cimorelli

Kanban for the Supply Chain: Fundamental Practices for Manufacturing Management by Stephen Cimorelli book cover

Managing production processes requires from you to be well acquainted with dozens of things, and supply chain management is one of them. This book will teach you how to apply TPS most well-known project management method into supply chain management and make the workflow clean and transparent.

Written by an engineer with more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing, engineering, materials, and supply chain management in a variety of industries, this book is full of practical examples on how to improve production processes without creating deficiencies or surplus, and address logistical errors smoothly and quickly.

Kanban Made Simple: Demystifying and Applying Toyota’s Legendary Manufacturing Process by John M. Gross

Kanban Made Simple: Demystifying and Applying Toyota's Legendary Manufacturing Process by John M. Gross book cover

Our last pick for this selection is the book filled with case studies and reports that will help you incorporate kanban into any manufacturing process, just by example. The author shows that the pillar of the Toyota Production System is pretty easy to understand and universal: it applies to both small factories and huge international enterprises.

The book opens with advice on what data has to be collected and even gives some hints about consistent data collection and wrong examples of data entry. It also has a workbook that you can give your shop floor workers or plant managers to learn kanban practically before applying it at your facility.

 

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