Determination of Optimal Kanban Allocation Patterns in Serial Production Lines

Kanban systems are well-known for their ability to operate production lines smoothly and according to demand by keeping the work-in-process down on some pre\-specified level. The problem of determining the right number of kanbans to be assigned to individual production stages is still not well understood. This paper attempts to attain more insight into the behavior of kanban systems and to derive general design rules for the allocation of kanbans which can be used by the practitioner. The production systems under consideration are serial production lines with identical and non-identical machines. Kanban allocation patterns are compared with respect to maximum throughput and minimal work-in-process. In the case of non-identical machines, capacity and variability bottlenecks are considered. The results will be compared with results available for the allocation of buffers in finite-buffer production lines.

By: Markus Ettl and Hansjoerg Fromm (IBM German Manufacturing Technology Center, Germany)

Published in: RC20158 in 1995


This Research Report is available. This report has been submitted for publication outside of IBM and will probably be copyrighted if accepted for publication. It has been issued as a Research Report for early dissemination of its contents. In view of the transfer of copyright to the outside publisher, its distribution outside of IBM prior to publication should be limited to peer communications and specific requests. After outside publication, requests should be filled only by reprints or legally obtained copies of the article (e.g., payment of royalties). I have read and understand this notice and am a member of the scientific community outside or inside of IBM seeking a single copy only.

Questions about this service can be mailed to .