One way to achieve small lot sizes is to move inventory through the shop only as needed rather than pushing it on to the next workstation whether or not the personnel there are ready for it. As noted earlier, when inventory is moved only as needed, it is referred to as a pull system, and the ideal lot size is one. The Japanese call this system kanban. Kanbans allow arrivals at a work center to match (or nearly match) the processing time. Kanban is a Japanese word for card. In their effort to reduce inventory, the Japanese use systems that “pull” inventory through work centers. They often use a “card” to signal the need for another container of material—hence the name kanban. The card is the authorization for the next container of material to be produced. Typically, a kanban signal exists for each container of items to be obtained. An order for the container is then initiated by each kanban and “pulled” from the producing department or supplier. A sequence of kanbans “pulls” the material through the plant.