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SupplyWorks Brings Bar Codes To Kanban Systems

Its e-Kanban tool uses bar codes instead of printed cards containing replenishment information.

Beth Bacheldor

July 21, 2004

1 Min Read

Lean manufacturing is helping lots of businesses streamline their supply chains, but they often still rely on some age-old practices, such as paper-based kanban systems. Now, SupplyWorks Inc. has an electronic kanban tool that uses bar codes instead of printed cards containing replenishment information.

Kanban, the Japanese term for signal, establishes a "pull" instead of "push" system of moving goods through the factory. The cards--either printed or, in this case, bar coded--are used to signal the start of steps, such as raw-material replenishment, that flow in reverse order (from shipping of goods to receiving supplies) in a production line.

SupplyWorks' e-Kanban system includes SupplyWorks MobileMax, an application that runs on a Microsoft Pocket PC with a Windows Mobile 2003 operating system and a SQL Server CE database. A bar-code reader plugged into the mobile device's SD slot reads bar codes off of the bins, and then wirelessly transmits the data to the core SupplyWorks Max supply-chain application.

The e-Kanban system will be unveiled in early September and has already been in use for several weeks at Danaher Corp., a maker of controls and tools.

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