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In Summary: What is Jidoka

In Summary: What is Jidoka
Jidoka is one of the most important Lean methods for ensuring built-in quality. Learn how it can help you enhance your workflow.

Establishing a continuous flow of work is vital for the successful implementation of Lean in any organization. Doing so will allow you to deliver value to your customers exactly when they need it without keeping too much inventory.

However, to make the most of this way of processing work, you need to ensure that your product's quality meets the expectations of your customers.

To help you with that, Lean offers a method called Jidoka. Built on 4 simple steps, it will empower you to stop your process when a problem appears and allow you to deal with it for good by identifying the root cause.

Definition of Jidoka

By definition, Jidoka is a Lean method that is widely adopted in manufacturing and product development. Also known as autonomation, it is a simple way of protecting your company from delivering products of low quality or defects to your customers while trying to keep up your takt time.

Jidoka relies on 4 simple principles to ensure that a company would deliver defect-free products:

1.Discover an abnormality
2.Stop the process
3.Fix the immediate problem
4.Investigate and solve the root cause
These 4 steps can be applied in various ways depending on your industry and can serve as a steady foundation for achieving continuous improvement of your process.

By implementing the Jidoka concept, anyone in your organization can stop the workflow as soon as they notice a problem that harms your product's quality.

It is one of the two pillars that turned Toyota into the giant it is today. Jidoka is often referred to as the forgotten pillar of the Toyota production system because of the relatively low attention it gets compared to the JIT system.

Origin of Jidoka

Jidoka was first used in 1896 by the Japanese inventor Sakichi Toyoda who later became the creator of Toyota Motor Company.

It was in the form of a simple device that could stop the shuttle of an automatic loom if the thread broke. The mechanism was able to detect if a thread is broken and, therefore, immediately shut down the machine and signal that there’s a problem to avoid producing defects. Afterward, the worker operating the loom had to fix the problem and resume the production process.

This was a revolutionary innovation because it allowed one operator to run more than one machine at a time and increased production capacity significantly. Due to its usefulness, a UK company bought the patent and practically provided the funding for Toyota's creation.

In Summary

Jidoka is one of the most important methods in the Lean arsenal for ensuring built-in quality and making the most of continuous flow. With its help you can:

*Discover process abnormalities
*Stop your workflow to prevent quality issues
*Fix problems in a timely fashion
*Identify and remove the root cause of any process problem

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