Jidoka is considered as one of the most important pillar of Toyota production system, the other being just-in-time manufacturing. It is a Japanese term, which means “Autonomation”. Jidoka focus mainly at quality from the core. For every organization, quality is the most important tool to achieve success through excellence and jidoka provides the pathway for achieving that.
Basically, Jidoka refers to modifying the equipment and training the personnel to identify any abnormal activity and stop them immediately. This empowers the processes to run with built in quality system and ensures quality and efficiency at every step of the process. Jidoka also allows detecting root cause of a problem as process stops immediately as a problem occurs. For example, loom machinery is programmed that it stops immediately as the thread breaks; it ensures that the product is high quality without any defects.
How Jidoka Lean Manufacturing Works
Jidoka lean manufacturing authorize the machinery smart enough to:
- Detect the abnormality or defect
- Stop on its own
- Warn the operator
The operator then finds out the root cause and rectifies the problem.
Implementation of Jidoka lean manufacturing allows the company to save direct cost as the responsibility of personnel to supervise and detect any defect is reduced. This helps the organization to utilize the manpower for more constructive and advantageous work.
Halt production process
Because of built in quality system production stops immediately whenever a problem is detected and recommence only when the problem is resolved. It improvises the quality as well as efficiency of the process at its earliest.
The abnormality identified in the production process is resolved immediately rather than letting the defective part or material continue through the entire process. It is very advantageous as it saves time and effort of personnel and a lot of rework. It allows early delivery of products and improves cycle time. It greatly enhances customer’s satisfaction.
Jidoka and Andon System
Jidoka and andon system are closely related in lean manufacturing. Jidoka is a built in quality control system whereas andon alerts the floor personnel about occurrence of an obstacle. Andon display boards, button and cords are installed at each floor of the factory so that it is visible to all the personnel. If any of the operators detect any issue in the manufacturing process, he pulls the cord or press the button to stop the process right away. The problem detected is then resolved and process is resumed.
However, for better and continuous improvement, the problems are analyzed intensely to find out any weak points in the equipment and machinery being used. This way machine efficiency and accuracy is enhanced to avoid future problems.
As jidoka is considered as the most important building block of lean manufacturing it has many advantages. Some of them are:
- Jidoka lean manufacturing enhances the overall productivity of the manufacturing process as it allows short and less gaps in production.
- It greatly reduces number of defective and faulty products to a level that is negligible.
- It largely reduces the overall production cost, time and energy as well as eliminates waste production.
- It enhances quality of products due to it’s built in quality control system and ultimately results in higher customer satisfaction.
- The problems are identified earlier in the production process and are resolved immediately to avoid delays in manufacturing process.
- It minimizes the need for all-time inspectors because the system itself is highly capable to detect problems.
- Due to lesser breakdown of equipments, the costs for equipment repair and replacement are greatly reduced and can be utilized in other areas for further enhancing the process productivity.
- It reduces the need of extra employees as one person can efficiently supervise more machines together.
- Employees are authorized to stop the production process in case of any problem which greatly enhance their morale.
- As problem recurrence is prevented it contributes to consistent operation and quality.
In a nutshell, Jidoka is the backbone of lean manufacturing which enhances process efficiency by running it smoothly. On contrary, if jidoka is not implemented it might result in overproduction, high labor cost, higher reprocessing time and ultimately an unsatisfied customer.