Jidoka (自働化)

Jidoka is a Japanese word that refers to process autonomation. Its a Lean Manufacturing and Toyota Production System concept that means using intelligent automation to maintain Takt Time and deliver defect-free products to customers. 

Automation has its pros and cons.

  • A few Pros are intended to be consistent output and product specifications and lower labor costs.
  • The downside is lack of ability to think. make impulse decisions, and maintenance. More so, if parts are expensive, hard to get, or have long lead times. Or when part of a production line or workcell goes down, a large section of the line or perhaps all of it, are down.  

Jidoka strives to get the best of both worlds where process are automated but yet there are intelligent human beings involved in the process as well. This is what is meant by the words "intelligent automation".

Humans are more supervisory than hands-on. 

Goals of Jidoka

In addition to the intentions indicated above, the other goals of Jidoka are:

  • Machine comes to a safe stop when abnormality detected.
  • Fix the abnormality quickly.
  • Avoid humans making judgements on machine performance and quality characteristics on the outputs.
  • Does not pass on defects to the next operation. 
  • Investigate root cause, implement preventive actions, poka-yoke the process.
  • Prevent the 7-Wastes, especially Over Production.

There is DETECTION and CORRECTIVE ACTION, to get the process up and running quickly. Once the process is running, a team is centered on root cause analysis a strong emphasis on fixing the problem so it cannot reoccur (PREVENTION).

If Jidoka is successful, this helps improve the likelihood that the principle of Just-In-Time manufacturing will succeed. Also allows the creation of reliable Kanban levels of raw materials, WIP, and finished goods. 

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