To Poka-yoke or not to Poka-yoke?

POKA-YOKE is a Japanese term that means “MISTAKE PROOFING”. This can be a great tool in manufacturing a product, but it shouldn’t be the first resort. It is far better to design mistakes out of the product in the initial design. But if the design is complete and the product is already in production then there are only two choices. If possible and not cost prohibitive, you can redesign the product. Unfortunately, that is usually not possible, so it comes down to “Mistake Proofing” the manufacturing process.

Not only does DREaM’s “Micro-Iterative Collaboration” approach (Explained in a previous post and on our website) lend itself to better design, it is also well suited to the design and implementation of

Poka-Yoke solutions.

Have you ever been involved a group trying to accomplish a goal? Have you been frustrated by the nay-saying, or been part of the nay-saying? This type of activity can be very negative, if you let it. Personally I like the nay-saying. I would much rather know all the obstacles up front. As long as you don’t allow the objections to be roadblocks, but see them as obstacles to overcome, they can force you to have a much more robust solution.

The challenge is to turn those doing the nay-saying into the ones coming up with the answers to overcome the objections they raised. The truth is, if you drill down into the objections you will normally find out they are all symptoms of one or maybe two real issues (root causes). Then, instead of putting bandages on symptoms, which will surface again, you can be focused on real solutions that eliminate the root cause of the issue.

Dan Rossborough

DREaM – Design Right Engineering and Manufacturing, LLC

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