Jidoka: The Daily Definition
What is jidoka?
Jidoka is the term for when human judgement is paired with automation in a system or piece of equipment, with the intent to catch problems right away. Another word for jidoka is autonomation. Jidoka results in a “best of both worlds” scenario for productivity, and it’s a critical element in lean production practices.
Loyal fans of The Daily Definition might recall our barcoding example that we used to illustrate poka-yoke. It turns out that this same scenario is also a great illustration of autonomation.
As a quick recap, our poka-yoke illustration walked through how, by barcoding your inventory and adding these barcodes to your pick list, you can improve your picking accuracy by scanning a master barcode once the order has been picked.
Scanning a master barcode automates the process of double-checking your pick list. And if an error turns up as a result of scanning that master barcode, this automation stops while a human determines the source of the problem. By pairing automation and human judgment, you’ve created a shining example of jidoka in action.
Our two cents:
It’s good to know that the robots still need us, isn’t it?
As a pillar of the Toyota Production System, jidoka is important to product-minded companies serious about maximizing efficiency. By highlighting the cause of a problem right away, autonomation minimizes down time and helps improve existing processes. The concept originated with Sakichi Toyoda, founder of the Toyota Group. He invented a textile loom that stopped whenever a thread broke, preventing the looms from churning out large amounts of defective fabric.
The jidoka principle makes room for human intervention in an automated system. This inevitably results in greater accuracy, efficiency, and productivity, plus leaner processes to boot. It’s just one of the many examples of how lean processes facilitate business growth.