Andon Signal

An andon signal – usually visual or audible – is used primarily in manufacturing and production systems to notify of equipment, process or job status. Andon signals convey information such as:

  • Low work-in-process inventory (need stock) – Kanban
  • Quality problems (stop the line)
  • Equipment down (need maintenance)

The term “andon” is from the Japanese for “paper lantern.” The term moved to manufacturing with the Toyota Production System and is an important part of the Lean lexicon of techniques for operational improvement.

Andon signals are part of the body of methods and approaches known as Visual Systems that include labeling, floor marking, status boards, visual metrics and so on. Today, andon signals have migrated to text messaging and other mobile device applications.

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