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[kahn-bahn] /ˈkɑnˈbɑn/
a just-in-time method of inventory control, originally developed in Japanese automobile factories.
Origin of kanban
< Japanese kamban literally, ‘signboard, shopkeeper's in-business sign', probably alluding to the shop or tavern keeper's final call for orders before taking the sign down, hence 'last-minute, just in time' in the context of inventory control < Middle Chinese, equivalent to Chinese kàn ‘look’ + bǎn ‘printing block’ Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for kanban


a just-in-time manufacturing process in which the movements of materials through a process are recorded on specially designed cards
any of the cards used for ordering materials in such a system
Word Origin
literally: advertisement hoarding
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for kanban

in manufacturing, a written set of specifications and requirements for production of a commodity and inventory control of the components needed; a manufacturing system or assembly line using such written specifications; also called just-in-time

Word Origin

Japanese 'sign, poster'

Usage Note

Japanese's 21st Century Lexicon
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