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Jidoka - quality built into the process

Jidoka's ideal is 100% product control during the production process. Hence another term for Jidoka - quality built into the process.

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What is Jidoka?

Jidoka is one of the pillars of the Toyota Production System. Jidoka refers to the far-reaching autonomization of workstations and machines. Its goal is defect-free production. Non-conforming selections must never reach the customer. The ideal of Jidoka is 100% control of the product during the production process, and not only after its completion. Hence another term for Jidoka – quality built into the process.

In which companies does Jidoka apply?

Jidoka has virtually no restrictions on application. This tool is used by companies in various industries. Jidoka solutions can be found in product manufacturing processes, in services (more and more often in the financial sector), as well as in healthcare and many others.
The implementation of Jidoka requires a fairly thorough analysis of the process in which the tool will operate. The process should be examined for anomalies, errors and defects. Experts recommend using FMEA analysis for this purpose.

Jikoda implementation – stages

The implementation of this tool can be divided into 3 basic stages.

Stage 1.

Process analysis for defects and errors. At this stage, a list of irregularities is created. If the team has decided to conduct an FMEA analysis, then the list of abnormalities and their effects can be downloaded from the worksheet.

Stage 2.

Implementing a defect and error detection system (if Poka-Yoke or Andon solutions have not already been implemented). At this stage it is recommended to automate defect detection and 100% control of established aspects of the product or process where irregularities occur.

Stage 3.

Ensure that the production process is stopped immediately when a defect or error occurs. In this stage, error response procedures are developed for employees. These may be, for example, error/defect response cards) or visual error reporting systems.

Woman tailor applying Jidoka at the sewing factory

Stopping the process

Remember that Jidoka requires you to stop the process if anything goes wrong. It is not allowed to continue the process without following certain procedures.

One of the most common causes of process stoppage is inadequate quality. The earlier we stop the process when abnormalities are detected, the less costs associated with poor quality will be incurred as a result. In addition, fewer resources will be devoted to effectively solve the problem.

It often happens that deviations occur in the process, which at first do not lead to quality defects. But an appropriate lack of reaction to deviations from the standards can lead to subsequent nonconformities. In such a case, it is also necessary to stop the process and analyze the sources of deviations. This will avoid the costs associated with corrections, rework and waste resulting from incorrect quality.

Stopping the process when problems are detected should be done automatically, without human intervention. This is why Jidoka is supported by solutions such as Poka Yoke and Andons.

Solving the problem

Stopping a process in Jidoka is crucial, but it is not an end in itself. The goal is to successfully solve the problem that caused the process to stop. If we want to prevent a similar situation from happening again in the future, we need to solve the problem at its source. This may require establishing an appropriate team, conducting a thorough analysis and implementing new standards.

In conclusion – remember that the process is stopped in order to prevent escalation of the problem in later stages of the production cycle.

Jidoka application examples:

Health care units in the United States

Jidoka is used in hospitals in the United States to reduce errors. These errors consist of administering the wrong dose of medication or the wrong drug. It is estimated that these types of errors can cause up to 100,000 deaths per year. To eliminate the likelihood of error, a procedure was created for doctors and nurses administering medications to patients. The procedure specifies: the right drug, the right dose of that drug, the right form of administration of the drug, and integrations with other drugs. Doctors and nurses follow the procedure every time they administer drugs to patients.

Food industry

In a food company, it is very important to follow hygiene rules regarding hand washing and disinfection before entering the production hall. Due to the high risk associated with this aspect of hygiene, the company decided to link the entrance gate system to the Poka-Yoke washing and disinfection system. The production worker is piloted by the system, which controls the individual operations of passing through the airlock with the execution of all hygiene-related operations (such as hand washing and disinfection). Failure to perform the operation is indicated by an audible alarm.

Electronics industry

A company in the electrical industry that manufactures electric motors had many quality problems. They noticed a large number of defects and subsequent rework, as well as a significant accumulation of non-conforming products, which were only repaired at the end of the process. All this generated enormous costs. In order to improve the situation in the company, it was decided to create defect response charts for employees at particular positions in the engine production process. Each defect has its own reaction rules and described procedure for the operator. In case of a defect, the employee reacts immediately and errors and defects are signaled by means of Andon. Andon is a light and sound signal. In case of a problem with solving an anomaly – a foreman is called in who coordinates actions and can get quick support from supporting departments.

Benefits of implementing Jidoka in an organization:

  • Reduce financial losses associated with poor quality costs,
  • Reduction of material losses and production waste disposal costs,
  • High prevention – prevention of mistakes in the future,
  • Increased awareness and competence of employees in the area of quality.

Worth knowing

The first official Jidoka was used in 1902 by Sakichi Toyoda on a mechanical weaving loom. It was a very simple device. Its task was to detect a broken thread and immediately stop the loom. As a result, the threads did not get tangled, did not have to be untangled, and thus downtime did not last long. The invention of this device is considered the beginning of not only Jidoka, but also the Toyota Production System.

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