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Learning unlocks all doors

Newsletter Issue 37 : Jan 2017


problem is opportunity

poka yoke

nature beautiful


Poka Yoke


Mistake proofing recognizes that every human will make mistakes and tries to set up systems that minimize or eliminate those mistakes.

Poka Yoke is a Japanese term for mistake proofing. It is a term for avoiding errors.  This technique, initially advocated by Shigeo Shingo, has validity both in manufacturing and service. 

By identifying errors in the process, defects can be eliminated in the product.  Often, Poka Yokes are most effective in repetitive tasks, where memory and attention to detail is crucial.  In turn, these tasks are very prevalent to errors.  Placement of Poka Yokes within these tasks are usually inexpensive and result in measurable savings by reducing defects.

By using a systematic approach, a manager can identify areas where Poka Yokes can benefit.  Creative problem solving can be elicited from those involved in the process to design a unique Poka Yoke, which results in products with zero defects. 

Shingo reasoned that defects occur as a result of worker errors. In order to prevent defects, mechanisms must be in place to prevent workers from making the error or alert the worker when an error occurs.  If the error can be recognized at the time of occurrence, defects can be prevented.

Moreover, Poka Yoke is often an easy, low cost method of improving repetitive, mundane processes, which have a high prevalence of error.  Therefore, managers should challenge themselves to identify and implement Poka Yokes to avoid errors and, thus, prevent defects.

A systematic approach to applying Poka Yokes will result in success.

Poka Yoke training details