The concept/methodology of Kanban for manufacturing is well established. Am I just nuts for trying to make it applicable to calibration management? While it may be argued that I often use established tools in non-traditional ways, my mother had me tested and I am not crazy-LOL.

Piggly Wiggly is given credit for the original Kanban system because they kept their shelves stocked properly. Shelves were full, but not overflowing. So why think of implementing Kanban in Calibration Management? As a provider of calibration services we sometimes see a lack of a pull system for calibration management.

Does this sound familiar?

The calibration company arrives to calibrate gages only to find that staff cannot seem to locate them or they are in use in a critical process. What happens? An additional visit and additional cost.

Can the principles of Kanban remedy this situation?

The principles of a Kanban Pull system are simple. The previous step in the process is to inform what the next step needs.

does kanban have a place in calibration managemnt.png

Now let's use the same process for Calibration Management:

does kanban have a role in calibration management alliance calibrtion.png


The above diagram implements the basic tenants of Kanban into Calibration Management:

  • The later process collects from the earlier process.
  • The later process informs the prior process about calibration "day".
  • The earlier process only sends those items that are due for calibration.
  • If the process didn't ask for it then it does not show up for calibration.
  • No defects (delays or missed calibrations) are passed into the later process.

In practice, there will be some hiccups on the first implementation of Kanban for Calibration Management. You very well might have to do some catch-up calibration. However, once implemented the "surprises" should go away.

Your Calibration Management program can be viewed as the Kanban Card. At Alliance Calibration we use automated electronic notification of gages due for calibration and a cloud-based portal that customers can use to access this data. We think of our system as a calibration Kanban card.


If your calibration management program is NOT running smoothly, then maybe you should consider implementing a Kanban Pull system.


Would love to hear what you think and what is working best in your situation. Please feel free to comment below.




Phil Wiseman

Phil Wiseman

Phil Wiseman is Chief Marketing Officer at Alliance Calibration. He earned a B.S. in Chemical Physics from Centre College. Phil is an ASQ Certified Quality Auditor and ASQ Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence.

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