Jidoka - ZQC
Autonomous Quality Zero Quality Control-
Quality at the Source
Zero Quality Control???
The first time I came across this concept I had to read it twice! Later I learned that it is the right thing to do. Isn't it logic to do things right The First Time? Isn't it fair enough to expect everyone to do their job right all the time? So why inspect after people have done their job? By doing that we are sending the wrong message! We are telling them that we do not trust their expertise nor their sense of responsibility!
"Quality comes not from inspection,
but from improvement
of the process"
Instead of quality control check points, today in the Lean environment we are looking at a concept called quality assurance. These are techniques that people can develop to make sure their process is rendering top quality. Most of those techniques are suggested by the operators. They imply some development of special, usually low cost devices that will let them confirm that their part of the process is within specs. Many of these devices will fall within the category of "Poka Yoke" which means "error proof".
Quality at the source is a source of pride for each person. As we work in a customer-supplier environment, there are two people in the point of beginning and end of each step of the process who can make sure it is within specs. These are the two operators performing the previous and next operations. We have to develop the right mutual support attitude among them to prevent any defective part to get through. Then, of course, acknowledge their good job!
Poka-Yoke helps prevent Mistakes
When I am typing an article (or you are) my text editor will show me with red underline that a word is misspelled, and it will even show me the alternatives to correct it. For a second language speaker like me, that has been really valuable. That is a "built-in" "poka yoke" in the program. Same thing if you open a washing or drying machine while it is operating. It stops operating so you or the children are protected. We constantly use these devices in modern life and take them for granted. Just that is what we need to insert in our processes. Make it impossible for a defective assembly to leave the station or cell. In some cases we can even prevent the part misplacement from happening. This saves manufacturers many millions of dollars everyday. As the get-rich opportunities say: "Get your share!"