What is the Poka Yoke system?
The Poka Yoke system is a means of avoiding product defects and reducing errors in manufacturing. It was developed by Japanese engineer Shigeo Shingo; yet it is still useful to businesses in many industries, as long as there is manufacturing involved. The core of the Poka Yoke system is an understanding that people will make mistakes, and so instead of criticizing them, you should focus on lessening the impact of those mistakes.
Implementing Poka Yoke is valuable and can streamline production, but before you begin using it, understand that there are two main types of Poka Yoke. They are:
- Control-focused Poka Yoke: This is a system of mechanisms designed to alert you to potential failures so that you can avoid them before they happen, such as by stopping the machinery. Control-focused interventions are immediate, which keeps them effective.
- Warning-focused Poka Yoke: In contrast to controlling a failure, this type of Poka Yoke system simply notifies you of any error, and does not spark a change in the production process.
Using a Poka Yoke system in your business improves the quality of products by alerting you to defects. It also saves you time and money on post-production repairs. Finally, Poka Yoke systems help to avoid human error, which creates an easier relationship between employees and supervisors.
How can you implement Poka Yoke?
You can introduce Poka Yoke principles in your products by designing them in such a way that human errors become obvious and are easily avoided. Some example of this are>
- Designing parts that can only fit into the machine one way, so that any other configuration is obvious and can be fixed quickly
- Specifying the exact number of components required and providing them in their own containers, to make it clear when a part is missing
- Using sensors that know the amount of steps required in manufacturing and monitor the process
- Color-coding cables and other wiring to eliminate confusion