2 April 2020

What is Jidoka?

Tim Massey

Tim Massey

Sales Manager UK

What is Jidoka?

One of the main pillars of lean manufacturing and the Toyota Production System is Jidoka. Jidoka is most often referred to as automation with a human touch.

Jidoka is one of the primary columns that hold up the idea of continuous improvement; however, it is most often left to the side behind the popularity of the Just-In-Time concept. The Jidoka concept revolves around the idea of quality and how quality can be guaranteed. This takes in different aspects on which route and process the quality can be guaranteed, and where a defect in quality occurs.

The definition of Jidoka technically means autonomation, which isn’t the same as automation; it means automation with a human touch.

It is a quality control process, about ensuring quality at the source or condition that can be built-in. This can be done by trying to determine or detect any problems or defects at an early stage of the production process, solving the issue or error, and then only going forward with production after solving the problem at the root cause. Effectively Jidoka is a means of stopping any process if there any unwanted irregularities happen within the process.

Some common issues that may lead to a stop in the production process are:

Quality Issues

Quality issues are one of the main reasons that a production or manufacturing process may be stopped. In general, stopping a production line as timely as possible once a defect is found, is the optimal path to take when trying to correct the root cause of the problem. In a fully lean company, every operator and employee has the power to stop the manufacturing line if an irregularity is found. The purpose of this is to highlight any issues in the process, or the materials, and take action immediately to find the root cause. In the case of quality issues, if the defective article continues along the production line, it will continue to be processed. Once this occurs and it is processed, the defective product will have further value added to it. Once more value is added, you will need to scrap the whole block of material rather than just the single defective part in the beginning.

Process Issues

While process issues may not be as common as an issue in quality, there may also be issues within the process that can lead to production line stoppages. If a particular section in the manufacturing process may cause problems, this can also call for a stop in the line, and an investigation process into the root cause can begin. One example of an error in the process may be an issue in how the parts are being delivered or transported from different stages of the production line. For example, newly arrived parts & materials may be damaged by the reckless use of forklifts. While this might not cause a defective part each time, as time goes on, it can lead to faulty parts, which reduces the quality of the production. Therefore calling for a stop and beginning a change in the process will lead to an improvement in how the parts and materials are transported. Doing this for any sections in the process that may cause errors will lead to the overall development of the manufacturing lines.

Jidoka Problem Solving

How to solve the issues – Problem-solving with Jidoka

Stopping a process when an irregularity is the most natural part of Jidoka, the more difficult task is to resolve the issue at its root cause. Addressing these issues right when they occur and the reason why they occur is the whole purpose of the Jidoka method. It won’t be easy to solve problems as soon as they occur. One of the more common problem-solving processes is the Plan-Do-Check-Act process, Kaizen, DMAIC, and the 8D process. It is also common to continue with the issue until it has been solved before starting production again. As can be seen in the above image.

The ability to find irregularities and find defects via automation with a human touch is what Jidoka is all about. The main goal of this is to produce goods free of abnormalities and deformities. With a stoppage in the production process, a review can begin. Leading to a continuous process of searching and solving quality and process abnormalities, which lead to an improved manufacturing process in the long term.

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