As explained in my last post, Kanban is a relatively new Agile Software Development Method. It was developed in 2004 and has since become one of the most frequently used agile methods. In this post I will outline some of the benefits associated with the use of Kanban in Information Systems. Firstly I will mention some of the benefits that, in theory, Kanban should have, then I will illustrate the benefits Kanban has brought to a particular company.
Kanban has many theoretical benefits. The main ones are:
- Bottlenecks become clearly visible in real-time. As a result people tend to collaborate to optimize the whole value chain rather than just their part.
- It Provides a more gradual evolution path from waterfall to agile software development, thereby helping companies that have previously lacked agile methods.
- It Provides a way to do agile software development without automatically having to use time-boxed fixed-commitment iterations such as Scrum sprints.
- It Tends to naturally spread throughout the organization to other departments such as HR and sales, thereby increasing visibility of all the activities of the company.
Having mentioned Kanban’s theoretical benefits I will now illustrate the practical benefits it has brought to the online distributor www.graphicproducts.com
- Reduce inventory and product obsolescence: The need for storage space is lessened as component parts are not delivered until just before they are needed. Upgrades can be included in the final product quickly and efficiently. Therefore no products or components that become obsolete.
- Reduces waste and scrap: With Kanban, overproduction is eliminated as products and components are only manufactured when needed. Also raw materials are not delivered until needed, which reduces waste and cuts storage costs.
- Provides flexibility in production: If demand for a product suddenly drops, Kanban ensures you are not left with excess inventory. This gives you the flexibility to respond rapidly to a changing demand.
- Increases Output: The flow of Kanban (cards, bins, pallets, etc.) will be stopped if there is a problem in production. This makes problems visible rapidly, allowing them to be resolved ASAP.
- Reduces Total Cost: As a result of all the benefits of Kanban above, the company’s total cost is reduced.
As can be seen above there are numerous benefits to Kanban which is why it has proven so popular since its creation in 2004.