Poka Yoke is a quality management philosophy that focuses on minimizing human error, without blaming employees for mistakes. The idea is that mistakes are natural and will always occur, however infrequently, so it makes sense to implement measures which assume a mistake may occur.
The Poka Yoke system originated in Japan and is differentiated into two main types:
- Control-focused Poka Yoke, which is a system that finds and corrects human error before it has a chance to occur
- Warning-focused Poka Yoke, which alerts you when an error is being made but does not halt production in the event of said error
There are also three main Poka Yoke methods that are used in manufacturing to avoid slip-ups during routine, often repetitive tasks. These Poka Yoke methods make production smoother and make the final product more intuitive and less prone to malfunction due to improper use.
The benefits of Poka Yoke to your business include:
- Lower training times for employees
- Making work safer by eliminating chances for errors
- Reducing waste, since you will not have as many defective or unusable products
- Improved productivity, since processes can be completed from start to finish without the need to correct mistakes
Poka Yoke addresses and mitigates several types of errors that workers may otherwise make during a production process. You can also see Poka Yoke methods used in various everyday products, such as when a washing machine won’t start until the door is closed or when an USB stick can only be inserted one way to avoid damage to the hardware.