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Free Kanban Card Templates

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Kanban is a Japanese word meaning “visual signal” or “card.” A Kanban system uses cards to indicate tasks or steps in a process. Kanban originally grew out of lean manufacturing to manage inventory and create efficiency in supply chains. The method was developed by Taichi Ohno, an industrial engineer who began working at Toyota in the 1940s. Inspiration for streamlining the Toyota Production System came from how supermarkets managed their inventory based on consumer demand. Ohno observed a type of “pull system” in which products were replenished based on what inventory had been withdrawn. Toyota translated this to their manufacturing process by creating a visual management system in which cards are used to signal what production steps need to be taken and when. This new process provided clear communication, increased efficiency, and reduced waste.

While Kanban continues to be used in manufacturing, it has also become widely used for agile software development. The core principles of kanban - visualize work, limit work in progress, focus on flow, and continuous improvement - help foster transparency and accountability, enhance communication, and improve production and efficiency for any project. The Kanban process enables development teams to create a visual workflow with a Kanban board. This can be a simple whiteboard with sticky notes or an electronic version. Kanban cards are attached to the board to indicate tasks or work items, and cards are moved across the board as workflows through different stages of the development process. A very basic Kanban board may be divided into three sections, or “swimlanes”: to-do, doing, and done. As the cards move through the lanes from left to right, it’s easy to see the entire process at a glance, limit work in process based on the team’s capability, and reduce backups.

A Closer Look at Kanban Cards

For software development, the front of a Kanban card may include information such as a description of work to be completed, the person or team assigned to the task, and estimated timeline. On the back of the card, metrics such as starting and ending dates, blocks in progress, and lead time can be recorded. These metrics can then be used to improve future workflows. In manufacturing or inventory management, the front of a kanban card may list a description of the part or product, instructions on quantity of parts and processes to be completed, lead time, supplier, order and due dates, and more. These cards should also include information on where to put them once they have been used. Since they are an essential part of maintaining workflow, the cards themselves need to be managed carefully.

One example of how physical Kanban cards are used in production is the two-bin system. In this system, items are pulled from one bin until it’s empty, at which point the Kanban card for that bin gets turned in, and items are pulled from a second bin. An order is placed to replenish the first bin, and that order should be completed before the second bin is empty. Ideally, the system creates a continuous flow of work between the two bins. Some extra inventory can be kept on hand in case an order is delayed. To keep the process flowing, the Kanban card needs to indicate what parts are being ordered and any other pertinent information, including what to do with the card once the order has been placed.

Depending on the type of product being produced, the scale of the production system and other factors, a manual system with physical Kanban cards may work better in some cases while an automated, electronic system may be more beneficial for others. And, some situations may call for a combination of both. Electronic Kanban may be beneficial for easily collecting metrics and making changes remotely.

The Kanban templates included here are free to download and print, and they can easily be customized. You’ll find card templates for both Excel and Word, as well as two Kanban board templates for PowerPoint. Whether you’re managing inventory in a stockroom, streamlining a production process, or need a simple Kanban board for visual project management, simply select the template that best matches your needs, and click on the free download. Customize the template by changing the information included on the card or adjusting the format.

Kanban Card Templates for Excel

Basic Kanban Card Template

This free Kanban Excel template provides a simple layout with multiple cards on one worksheet. The template is printable, and the cards can be edited to accommodate a specific type of inventory or Kanban system. You can change the format to create a larger card or add more sections by adjusting the rows and columns in the spreadsheet.

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Withdrawal Kanban Card Template

A withdrawal Kanban card signals the movement of products to a downstream process. The card indicates the type and quantity of parts that should be withdrawn from a previous process and moved forward. This withdrawal card template includes information such as product type and location, process details, and box type.

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Production Kanban Card Template

A production Kanban card authorizes the manufacturing of product for a downstream process. Parts are made based on the information specified on the card. This template includes four cards on one sheet, with clear instructions related to product type and quantity, delivery, and process.

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Kanban Card Templates for Word

Stockroom Kanban Card Template

Manage your stockroom inventory with this free Kanban card template. Download, print, and laminate cards before using them on stockroom shelves. Create color-coded Kanban cards by changing the color at the top for easy visual organization.

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Simple Kanban Card Template

This Kanban card template has a very basic layout with room for detailed information that’s easy to read. Include a photo to easily identify parts, and edit each line to reflect your specific product and Kanban process. Remember to record metrics on the back of cards to collect important data for streamlining your workflow.

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Horizontal and Vertical Kanban Card Templates

This Word template includes Kanban cards in both horizontal and vertical formats. As with the other templates offered here, these are easy to modify based on your needs, providing a quick and easy physical Kanban card for any use.

Download Horizontal and Vertical Kanban Card Template

Kanban Templates for PowerPoint

Kanban Board Template

This Kanban board template can be used for planning and visualizing any project, whether you’re using personal Kanban to visualize tasks or combining Scrum with Kanban for Agile software development. You can customize the board so that the lanes represent each stage of your project, and then use the moveable cards to plan and track your workflow.

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Simple Kanban Board Template

This simplified Kanban board template provides just the basics for easy organization. Use this template for personal use, managing a project in a small-business setting, or as part of a PowerPoint presentation. The board is a simple tool but can provide powerful visual communication.

Download Simple Kanban Board Template

Kanban Card PPT Template

We’ve included one Kanban card template for PowerPoint, which can be used as an example in a presentation or printed and used as a physical card. The template includes standard information for a physical Kanban card, and the layout or content can be modified as needed.

Download Kanban Card PPT Template

Discover a More Adaptable Kanban Board in Smartsheet

Smartsheet is a powerful, collaborative work management tool that helps teams manage projects of any type and size. As a cloud-based app, working in Smartsheet ensures that stakeholders receive real-time updates and that all information is stored in a single place for anytime, anywhere access. You can also use Smartsheet to create a Kanban board, whether you’re managing large projects at work or ongoing personal tasks at home.

The Kanban methodology itself relies on flexibility, and Smartsheet’s intuitive, adaptive interface allows you to create the Kanban board that best suits your needs. Using Smartsheet to create a Kanban board enables you to fully customize which details you would like to include on your cards, so that you can work in the way that makes the most sense for you. Additionally, the lane pivoting function gives you heightened viewing flexibility by making the typical Kanban lane usability more dynamic.

Haven’t worked in Smartsheet yet? Get started planning and managing your work with a Kanban board using Card View today.

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Free Kanban Card Templates

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