Toyota Emblem Outside a Car Dealership

Kanban is a process-based management system that helps teams visualize their workflows and improve communication. Many giant companies using Kanban have enabled their teams to work more efficiently. Whether you are into fashion, finance, tech, or manufacturing business, you can opt for Kanban to manage your team’s workflow and improve their productivity.

Are you considering using Kanban for your business but not sure if it applies to your operations? To help you know what to expect from this workflow management tool, let’s dive into the world of business and see how big companies using Kanban manage their teams’ workflow effectively.

Companies Using the Kanban System for Business Operations

Here is a list of 5 big companies that are using Kanban boards:

1. Toyota

Toyota is a multinational company that manufactures cars, trucks, and SUVs. They have more than 338,000 employees worldwide.

Toyota experienced a robust year in car sales, with an impressive total of 366,741 vehicles sold, showcasing the brand’s continued popularity and consumer trust in its diverse lineup.

When it comes to managing its workflow, Toyota uses Kanban to manage its car production process better. The Kanban board has three sections: “Backlog”, “In Progress”, and “Done”. Each section represents the status of tasks in terms of what stage they are currently at.

The cards help the team members to coordinate their work, and they also help them track the status of each task until completion. Kanban has helped Toyota become more efficient by optimizing its workflow to focus on creativity. Kanban has also helped Toyota reduce the time required to complete a task, thus increasing its efficiency.

The Kanban took inspiration from the Toyota Production System (TPS) and for years, it has helped Toyota maintain a production system that is worthy of emulation.

2. Spotify

You must have heard about this popular music streaming service that has around 60 million active users. They’ve used Kanban after struggling to execute their projects.

The Spotify operations team decided to make Kanban as simple as it can be. It is important for them that the board should not be overwhelmed with tasks. To simplify their workflow the team uses only three sections of workflows, i.e. To Do (tasks to start), Doing (in progress), and Done (finished).

They also use some additional cards like the “Defer” card if a task needs more time for completion. Also, the “Blocked” cards are used to keep track of the tasks that cannot be worked for any reason.

Spotify has managed its workflow always to have time for creativity rather than wasting it with other issues. The Kanban boards are made accessible for all employees, and they can add new tasks to them.

3. Pixar

Pixar is a popular name in the animation and movie world, with more than 1500 employees. This company uses Kanban boards to manage its workflows across different departments like concept art, modeling, production management, and more.

Each department’s workflow starts with some specific task like “Concept Art” or “Model”. Well, it is the first task that appears on its Kanban board. The departments are divided into multiple lanes, and there are different types of cards in each lane depending upon their status (new, in progress, etc.)

The team members update the statuses according to work completion so that other teams can plan accordingly. They use special Kanban card labels to communicate in the development process. For example, they use the “Request Feedback” card when they need feedback from another department related to their work like concept art or modeling, etc.

4. Apple

Apple is an American multinational corporation that designs and markets consumer electronics and computer software products worldwide. With around 97,000 employees all over the world who use Kanban to manage their workflow effectively. However, the modified version of Kanban used here is called “Dynamic Kanban,” which helps employees prioritize tasks based on current needs.

The Apple workflow starts with a backlog section; next comes the “Doing” section where different teams are doing the work and finally ends up in the Done section when it’s completed successfully. The company has divided its workflow into different stages like “Ready”, “Doing,” and Done”.

At the end of each stage, they add a card to indicate that the work has been completed successfully. It helps in focusing on new tasks and completing them as soon as possible. Kanban works well for Apple because it is an environment where everyone collaborates to achieve their goals.

5. Zara

Zara is a big name in the fashion industry and has around 17,000 employees worldwide. They have tested the Kanban system for years, and it is operated right from their store level.

Zara has separated their workflows into different stages like Pre Control (prioritizing), Control (in progress), and Post Control (tasks completed). Their Kanban board has all the information needed to make decisions related to workflows. It helps them in making better business decisions with greater accuracy.

Kanban works well for Zara because it increases efficiency, thus allowing employees more time to do creative stuff. It helps them in minimizing the time required to complete tasks.

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More Tech Companies Using Kanban

Kanban systems are proven to work for many industries. Many tech companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, etc., have also adopted it to manage the workflow better and increase efficiency.

Tech companies use Kanban slightly differently because the tasks here are more complicated than other industries like Zara or Apple, where employees can easily finish their work using Kanban boards without any problem. 

Tech companies have a creative process where employees are constantly working on different tasks. These companies need to manage workflows in a single system to keep track of everything easily without any hassles.

Why Use the Kanban Board for Your Business?

Kanban has proven to work for big companies, especially those that have adopted flow-based systems for their work. It can work for you as well if implemented correctly. It will improve your team collaboration, communication and help you gain more efficiency and fast results.

Kanban board also helps identify bottlenecks in the system and thus, allows you to perform better by working on these issues instead of wasting time on something that does not affect the overall performance of your business. It will give employees a clear idea about what needs to be done next and how the workflows are carried out in your business.

Kanban boards enable teams and individuals to communicate in almost any scenario effortlessly. Collaboration becomes easier when individuals can readily view what has been accomplished and who is working on what. So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with Kanban Zone to know how to use Kanban in your workflow.

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About the Author: Kanban Zone

Kanban Zone
This is a post from the Kanban Zone community. These posts cover various topics related to the Kanban methodology, project and tasks management, Lean, Agile, as well as content relevant to other practitioners from the Kanban community.

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