In the Toyota Production System house there are two pillars. The one pillar most of the books are written about is JIT. You know all the fun stuff about one piece flow and pull. But there is an entire other pillar that, in my opinion, does not get enough respect. That other pillar is Jidoka.
Toyota’s website (what better source is there) defines Jidoka as follows:
The term jidoka used in the TPS can be defined as “automation with a human touch.” The word jidoka traces its roots to the automatic loom invented by Sakichi Toyoda, Founder of the Toyota Group. The automatic loom is a machine that spins thread for cloth and weaves textiles automatically.
There are four main steps to Jidoka. They are:
- Detect the abnormality or defect
- Stop doing what you are doing… something is wrong!
- Fix the issue
- Investigate the root cause and ensure it doesn’t happen again
Poka-Yoke is an excellent tool to ensure jidoka is in place. Once you identify a failure mode the best control of all is a Poka-Yoke device. Some call this mistake proofing while others call it idiot proofing. Both work I suppose but mistake proofing sounds more respectful (a key tenet to Lean is respecting people).
If you have never visited Toyota’s TPS website I highly recommend it. Click here to go to the site. The menu on the left will lead you through things like JIT, Jidoka, and the videos towards the bottom of the menu are great! In short, this site details the history behind TPS and the amazing people that developed it. Best of all… it’s free!
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