What is Jidoka?
Jidoka used in the Toyota Production System means “automation with a human touch,” or simply autonomation. The concept of jidoka is to provide machines with the capability to detect and flag inconsistencies or abnormal conditions in the production line. This allows process operators the ability to quickly address the issue.
Productivity is increased when machines are able to operate automatically and detect any deficiencies in the process. Production speed is increased by using an automated assembly line. The need to have someone physically at each station is minimal, an individual can manage multiple automated machines.
How to Apply Jidoka
The four principles to successfully implement jidoka:
- Discover an abnormality – This can be a process malfunction, defective work-in-progress items, or any deviation to the normal workflow. Abnormal conditions are usually flagged through a mechanism called andon.
- Stop the process – Once an abnormality is detected, operations should be stopped to prevent the production of more defective items.
- Fix the immediate problem – The supervisor diagnoses and corrects the problem to resume production.
- Investigate and solve the root cause – The supervisor identifies the cause of the problem, addresses it, and improves the workflow to prevent the recurrence of the problem.
It is also important that business owners equip their process owners and supervisors with the problem-solving tools and techniques needed to adequately address problems and improve workflows.
The Pursuit of Quality
Jidoka enables companies to embed quality at every point in their production process. Process operators are able to address quality problems early and avoid a production lot of defects. This minimizes the cost of working on defective products and reduces waste.
Consistently producing quality products also enables businesses to scale their operations. When quality is built into the operations, businesses are better poised to increase production and explore new avenues for growth.