Ceramic Industry

Do You Poka-Yoke?

September 9, 2008

Poka-yoke is the Japanese term for mistake-proofing or setting up measures to prevent mistakes and the negative impact they can have on your company’s bottom line. Jeff Fuchs -- Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME, www.sme.org) member, lean consultant and author of SME’s new DVD “Poka-Yoke: Mistake-Proofing” -- knows the answer. He builds his company’s bottom line by helping other companies change people, processes, organization and technology for better business results.

“Whether it’s your check engine light, a smoke detector, or child-proof caps, poka-yoke is all around us,” says Fuchs. “It can make life safer, easier and can improve your business processes.”

The DVD’s purpose is to help manufacturers come as close to perfection as possible. Part of the Shingo Prize-winning Manufacturing Insights Video Series, it measures and evaluates the modern and practical methods for getting quality right the first time.

If necessity is the mother of invention, poka-yoke is an effective solution for mistakes that are bound to happen when an operator completes repetitive tasks. “Mistake-proofing is one of the cornerstones of lean production,” says Fuchs. “It creates stable, repeatable processes that are high quality and low waste. But whether you are on a lean journey or not, isn’t that the kind of rock-solid foundation you want at the base of all your business processes?”

Does your company poka-yoke? If so, what results are you seeing? What other QC/QA techniques do you employ? Please post your comments below.