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In his Kaizen: the Key to Japan's Competitive Success published in 1986 that introduced Kaizen to the Western corporate

world, Masaaki Imaidefined it as: "a means of continuing improvement in personal life, home life, social life, and working life. At the workplace, Kaizen means continuing improvement involving everyonemanagers and workers alike. The Kaizen business strategy involves everyone in an organization working together to make improvements without large capital investments." Kaizen (?), Japanese for "improvement", or "change for the better" refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, game development, and business management. It has been applied in [1] [2] healthcare, psychotherapy, life-coaching, government, banking, and other industries. When used in the business sense and applied to the workplace, kaizen refers to activities that continually improve all functions, and involves all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers. [3] It also applies to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain. By improving standardized activities and processes, kaizen aims to eliminate waste (see lean manufacturing). Kaizen was first implemented in several Japanese businesses after the Second World War, influenced in part by American business and quality management teachers who [4] visited the country. It has since spread throughout the world and is now being implemented in many other venues besides just business and productivity.

Kaizen is a daily process, the purpose of which goes beyond simple productivity improvement. It is also a process that, when done correctly, humanizes the workplace, eliminates overly hard work ("muri"), and teaches people how to perform experiments on their work using the scientific method and how to learn to spot and eliminate waste in business processes. In all, the process suggests a humanized approach to workers and to increasing productivity: "The idea is to nurture the company's human resources as much as it is to praise and encourage participation in kaizen activities."[5]Successful implementation requires "the participation of workers in the improvement."[6] People at all levels of an organization participate in kaizen, from the CEO down to janitorial staff, as well as external stakeholders when applicable. The format for kaizen can be individual, suggestion system, small group, or large group. At Toyota, it is usually a local improvement within a workstation or local area and involves a small group in improving their own work environment and productivity. This group is often guided through the kaizen process by a line supervisor; sometimes this is the line supervisor's key role. Kaizen on a broad, cross-departmental scale in companies, generates total quality management, and frees human efforts through improving productivity using machines and computing power.[citation needed] While kaizen (at Toyota) usually delivers small improvements, the culture of continual aligned small improvements and standardization yields large results in the form of compound productivity improvement. This philosophy differs from the "command and control" improvement programs of the mid-twentieth century. Kaizen methodology includes making changes and monitoring results, then adjusting. Large-scale pre-planning and extensive project scheduling are replaced by smaller experiments, which can be rapidly adapted as new improvements are suggested.[citation needed] In modern usage, it is designed to address a particular issue over the course of a week and is referred to as a "kaizen blitz" or "kaizen event". These are limited in scope, and issues that arise from them are typically used in later blitzes The Toyota Production System is known for kaizen, where all line personnel are expected to stop their moving production line in case of any abnormality and, along with their supervisor, suggest an improvement to resolve the abnormality which may initiate a kaizen.

The PDCA cycles[7]

The cycle of kaizen activity can be defined as:

Standardize an operation and activities. Measure the standardized operation (find cycle time and amount of in-process inventory) Gauge measurements against requirements Innovate to meet requirements and increase productivity Standardize the new, improved operations Continue cycle ad infinitum

This is also known as the Shewhart cycle, Deming cycle, or PDCA. Other techniques used in conjunction with PDCA include 5 Whys, which is a form of root cause analysis in which the user asks "why" to a problem and its answer five successive times. There are normally a series of root causes stemming from one problem,[8] and they can be visualized using fishbone diagrams or tables. Masaaki Imai made the term famous in his book Kaizen: The Key to Japan's Competitive Success. Apart from business applications of the method, both Anthony Robbins[citation needed] and Robert Maurer have popularized the kaizen principles into personal development principles. In the book One Small Step Can Change Your life: The Kaizen Way, and CD set The Kaizen Way to Success, Maurer looks at how individuals can take a kaizen approach in both their personal and professional lives.[9][10] In theToyota Way Fieldbook, Liker and Meier discuss the kaizen blitz and kaizen burst (or kaizen event) approaches to continuous improvement. A kaizen blitz, or rapid improvement, is a focused activity on a particular process or activity. The basic concept is to identify and quickly remove waste. Another approach is that of the kaizen burst, a specific kaizen activity on a particular process in the value stream.[11] WebKaizen Events, written by Kate Cornell, condenses the philosophies of kaizen events into a one-day, problem solving method that leads to prioritized solutions. This method combines Kaizen Event tools with PMP concepts. It introduces the Focused Affinity Matrix and the Cascading Impact Analysis. The Impact/Constraint Diagram and the Dual Constraint Diagram are tools used in this method.[12] Key elements of kaizen are quality, effort, involvement of all employees, willingness to change, and communication. [edit]The

five main elements of kaizen

Teamwork Personal discipline Improved morale Quality circles Suggestions for improvement

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Kanban: A Card to Pull Production

Toyotas Taichi Ohno introduced kanban as a tool in the development of Just In Time manufacturing. Kanban, meaning billboard or sign, is a scheduling system that pulls production based on actual demand.Kanban controls the timing and quantity, as well as the precise item to be produced. The concept came from observing the way a grocery store keeps its shelves stocked with an item:

Customers remove items from a display shelf An employee notices the card left exposed by the removal of the final item The employee then goes into the storeroom and replenishes the display shelf When the bin in the storeroom is down to its reorder point, the employee who is restocking the display shelf would also order more goods from the supplier

This process works well in grocery stores and can be valuable in a manufacturing environment also. It is easy to imagine the final assembly point or final storage area for finished goods as the display shelf. As customer orders deplete the supply of finished goods, a point is reached that triggers a production order. Likewise, when a production order depletes raw material to below its trigger point, a purchase order is sent to the external supplier. Depending on the complexity of the manufacturing operation, there may be many locations for kanban cards. The same size of bolt, used in many places in the factory, might all point to one internal storage area from which the purchase order is sent to the supplier. A complex subassemblys kanban card might send production orders to several areas in the factory. Regardless of the complexity or the number of processing steps in a factory that pass kanban requests internally, each process should be considered a shelf awaiting a demand from its customer, the downstream process

Introduction to Kanban Cards

The first physical implementation of kanban used actual cards such as one might see in stores. The card contains this information:

The identity of the item that should be stocked on this shelf The reorder quantity To whom to send the order Any other information that that may be needed by the person making that order

Electronic kanban describes a computer system that triggers the orders when inventory is depleted. This performs the same function; there are trade-offs among ease of implementation, ease of change, employee training, and perhaps reliability. Depending on historic demand for an item, and the lead time required, the kanban process need not wait until the stock is entirely depleted. For example, one may decide to order when the quantity drops to 10. An obvious approach is to place the kanban card where it would be visible when the quantity in stock reaches 10. It is a simpler concept, however, if it is implemented in this fashion:

Set the final storage bin to hold ten items; replenish it when it drops to zero Set a secondary storage bin to hold some multiple of ten items; replenish it at zero, also

So when the final storage bin requests the last ten items from the secondary bin, the secondary bin sends the order to replenish itself back to the factory or supplier.

Requirements for a Successful Kanban System

A kanban system requires stable and fairly level demand, varying by no more than 10% to 20% at most. Shelf life may also be a factor. The supermarket example works well for staple goods, such as fresh vegetables, bread and rice: items which are regularly consumed and replenished. Items with seasonal demand, such as Valentine chocolates, Easter eggs, or Christmas fruit cakes would not be re-stocked immediately after that event. Instead, shelf space is made available for the next seasonal item. In contrast, the supply chain for frozen turkey may continue operating all year, even if the seasonal demand peaks for Thanksgiving and Christmas. When raising poultry, production is hard to manipulate, but freezing and warehousing is relatively straightforward. If too little inventory is available to meet demand, or the manufacturing or supply processes run slower than required, the external customer will experience a delay. This business risk must be managed against the beneficial cost reduction of carrying less inventory than before kanban was introduced. A company with a diversified product line may have naturally balanced or unbalanced demand. Lawn mowers and snow blowers, for example, are required in different seasons, so there is a natural balance. A kanban system is unlikely to try to restock both products simultaneously. However, if all of the companys products rise and fall in demand simultaneously, kanban will result in conflicts. An example would be a company that manufactures small motors for lawn mowers and other warm weather consumer products.

Toyotas Six Kanban Practices

Toyota implemented six important practices to enable kanban to serve its needs:

Never send defective products downstream to the next process Each process only orders what it currently needs from the upstream process Each process only produces the quantity ordered by the downstream process Maintain a level rate of production Use kanban to fine-tune the rate of production Work to reach a stable rate of production

Production leveling is a separate topic, and may be difficult to achieve; that may be why the final three practices refer to it. To over-simplify, level production means that each process works at a steady pace rather than racing in reaction to crises, with idle periods between orders. Lean manufacturing tries to avoid having inventory, which is seen as a waste of cash, storage space and the motion required to store and retrieve items.

Is Kanban Compatible with Lean Manufacturing and Production Leveling?

It may be better to say that it is possible to arrive at a rational compromise, depending on the mix of products demanded by external customers. An absolutely Lean factory never stops moving material as it moves from the loading dock as raw material, through internal steps as goods-inprocess, and onto the truck from the shipping dock. No inventory is kept anywhere. If external customers always buy in economic order quantities with flexible deadlines, suppliers are always reliable, and processing time is minimal, then a Lean factory will maintain level production for each order and does not need kanban. If the external customers buy in variable quantities and orders may pile up, it becomes necessary to deliberately pursue production leveling. This keeps equipment and personnel operating at a steady and sustainable pace while producing fewer defects than would be created in a mad rush. To avoid missing customer deadlines, however, requires a minimal inventory of finished goods to cover peak demand. Once one accepts the need for the minimal inventory of finished goods to cover peak demand, then kanbanbecomes an excellent way to trigger the production cycle. The quantities noted on the kanban cards reflects the compromise between the Lean goal of zero inventory and the conflicting demands to satisfy varying demands from external customers. On the assumption that the factory is building different products simultaneously, kanban can also serve the goal of production levelling, or heijuka. This was first implemented using the heijuka box, a pigeonhole mailbox. Each product that a machine or process can make has a horizontal row

in the box. Vertical columns correspond to work shifts. As kanban order cards are brought to that machine, the cards are placed in the correct row for the product they represent. By distributing the cards along the row, the orders are assigned to subsequent shifts. Each shift should have a selection of cards that achieves the goal of level production. Electronic versions of kanban and heijuka are available, but the cards provide a relatively easy implementation and certainly serve as tools for training.

A kanban system requires a fairly level and well-understood demand, as well as careful analysis of the capabilities of the manufacturing process. A well-researched and well-implemented kanban system is capable of delivering cost savings by reducing inventory, warehousing and deferring manufacturing expenses until production is required.



Poka-yoke is a technique for avoiding simple human error in the workplace. Also known as mistake-proofing, goofproofing, and fail-safe work methods, poka-yoke is simply a system designed to prevent inadvertent errors made by workers performing a process. The idea is to take over repetitive tasks that rely on memory or vigilance and guard against any lapses in focus. Poka-yoke can be seen as one of the three common components of Zero Defect Quality Control performed by Japanese companies (source inspection and feedback are the other two). Dr. Shigeo Shingo, a renowned authority on quality control and efficiency, originally developed the mistake-proofing idea. Realizing its value as an effective quality control technique, he formalized its use in Japanese manufacturing as the poka-yoke system. One hundred percent inspections catch unacceptable products but do nothing to improve the process. Shingo was emphatic that the purpose of this system be to improve the process not sort out defective parts. Today, this concept is in wide use in Japan. Toyota Motor Corporation, whose production system Shingo helped design, averages twelve poka-yoke devices per machine in their manufacturing plants, thus validating the concept as beneficial to industry. Patel, Dale, and Shaw, in the article "Set-Up Time Reduction and Mistake Proofing Methods: An Examination in Precision" list the potential benefits as:

elimination of set-up errors and improved quality decreased set-up times with associated reduction in production time and improved production capacity simplified and improved housekeeping increased safety lower costs lower skill requirements increased production flexibility improved operator attitudes.

In a Quality magazine article, Melissa Larson provides interesting details about benefits resulting from the implementation of poka-yoke systems at the Supply Support Activity (SSA) at Fort Carson, Colorado, a military retail supply operation of the U.S. Army. Inventory, receipt, and batch processing all improved quantifiably. Location survey accuracy was approximately sixtyfive percent prior to implementation. After implementing the use of the bar-code readers location accuracy increased to ninety-eight percent. Inventory adjustments averaged $3000 a month. Inventory adjustments dropped to an average of $250 per month.

The rate of incorrect receipt closures to the supplier had been ninety percent. This rate dropped to zero percent. Batch processing was also significantly improved. Traditionally, the SSA had approximately fifteen to twenty batch processing failures per month, and a myriad of system file failures due to operators performing the process out of proper sequence. Since the poka-yoke implementations, there have been zero batch process failures. Catalog update improvements also resulted. The error rate was twenty-two percent but dropped to zero percent. Original request processing time was 12.5 days, but with the new request processing time is 1.6 days. Actual dollars invested in these activities totaled less than $1000.

Poka-yoke is based on prediction and detection. That is, recognizing that a defect is about to occur or recognizing that a defect has occurred. Consequently, there are two basic types of poka-yoke systems. The control poka-yoke does not allow a process to begin or continue after an error has occurred. It takes the response to a specific type of error out of the hands of the operator. For example, a fixture on a machine may be equipped with a sensing device that will not allow the process to continue unless the part is properly inserted. A 3.5-inch floppy disk will not work if inserted backwards or upside down. As a matter of fact, it won't fit into the drive at all unless properly inserted. A second type of poka-yoke provides some type of warning when an error occurs. This does not prevent the error, but immediately stops the process when an error is detected. This type of poka-yoke is useful for mass production environments with rapid processing as the device prevents mass production of scrapped material. For environments where large losses of time or resources do not result, a warning poka-yoke is warranted. All that is needed is a way to ensure that the error is investigated and corrected in a timely manner. Poka-yokes can be as simple as a steel pin on a fixture that keeps incorrectly placed parts from fitting properly, or they can be as complex as a fuzzy logic neural network used to automatically detect tool breakage and immediately stop the machine. Surprisingly, the simple low-cost devices tend to be in the majority. Regardless of degree of simplicity, all poka-yokes fall into one of three categories: contact methods, fixed-value methods, and motion-step methods. Each is briefly discussed.

Contact methods are based on some type of sensing device which detects abnormalities in the product's shape or dimension and responds accordingly. Interference pins, notches with matching locator pins, limit switches and proximity switches are sometimes used to ensure that a part is positioned correctly before work occurs. Asymmetric parts with matching work fixtures can also alleviate incorrect positioning. If orientation is not critical, symmetrical designs can then be used to prevent defects. Contact methods are useful in situations which encourage mistakes. Such situations involve rapid repetition, infrequent production, or environmental problems such as poor lighting, high or low heat, excess humidity, dust, noise, or anything which distracts a worker. Paul Dvorak, in "Poka-Yoke Designs Make Assemblies Mistakeproof," an article appearing in Machine Design, recommends that the maintenance engineer investigate at least four areas for potential problems that require contact method solutions: 1. 2. 3. 4. Look for where the product will fail if parts are assembled incorrectly. Look for small features critical to proper assembly. Beware of relying on subtle differences to determine top from bottom or front from back, especially if the parts are painted dark colors. Beware of designs so complicated that they confuse inexperienced operators.

Fixed-value methods are used in processes where the same activity is repeated several times, such as tightening of bolts. This method frequently involves very simple techniques, such as methods that allow operators to easily track how often this activity has been performed. Dvorak gives the example of an operator who is responsible for tightening down six bolts on a product. Before passing the product on, the tightening process is performed a fixed number of times (six). A simple poka-yoke device would incorporate the use of a wrench dipped in diluted paint. Since untightened bolts will not have paint on them, the operator can easily see if he or she has performed the process the required number of times. A second example (from Dvorak) would be the use of packaged material in the exact (fixed) quantities needed to complete the process. If the bolts were stored in containers of six, the operator could easily see when the process was still incomplete as the box would still contain one or more bolts.

The motion-step method is useful for processes requiring several different activities performed in sequence by a single operator. This is similar to the fixed-value situation in that the operator is responsible for multiple activities but instead of performing the same activity multiple times the operator performs different activities. First, each step in the process is identified by the specific motions needed to complete it. Then devices are created to detect whether each motion is performed and then alert the operator when a step is skipped. An assembly process could utilize a device that senses when all required components are present at the start of the process for each unit. The devices could then detect when each component is removed from its dispenser, If a component is not removed, the sensing device alerts the assembler before he/she can move on to another unit.

Poka-yoke devices which provide the fastest possible feedback about defects and allow workers to assess the quality of their own work are referred to as self-checks. Self-checks can be used to allow workers to rapidly identify slips or work errors such as incomplete or omitted operations and to verify the existence or absence of an attribute. For example, at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a computer system is used to check and process doctors' prescriptions.

A number of "real world" applications are presented in the business and engineering literature. Below are a list of examples of poka-yoke applications. James R. Evans and William M. Lindsay present these examples in their book The Management and Control of Quality:

Color-coding a wiring template to assist the worker. Installing a device on a drill to count the number of holes drilled in a work piece; a buzzer sounds if the work piece is removed before the correct number of holes has been drilled. Cassette covers were frequently scratched when the screwdriver slipped out of the screw slot and slid against the plastic covers. The screw design was changed as shown in Table 1 to prevent the screwdriver from slipping. A metal roller is used to laminate two surfaces bonded with hot melted glue. The glue tended to stick to the roller and cause defects in the laminate surface. An investigation showed that if the roller were dampened the glue would not stick. A secondary roller was added to dampen the steel roller during the process, preventing the glue from sticking.

One production step at Motorola involves putting alphabetic characters on a keyboard, then checking to make sure each key is placed correctly. A group of workers designed a clear template with the letters positioned slightly off center. By holding the template over the keyboard, assemblers can quickly spot mistakes.

John Grout presented these examples in "Mistake-Proofing Production," an article written for Production and Inventory Management Journal:

Trinity Industries Railcar Division workers created a layout jig to avoid having to use a tape measure and chalk to position subassemblies on each car individually. The jig has tops that allow it to be quickly positioned correctly on the car's chassis. Each component that is to be attached to the car has a corresponding cutout on the jig. The jig eliminates two modes of worker error. It eliminates incorrect measurements and inaccurate positioning of parts. It also eliminates the worker vigilance required to ensure all of the components are attached. Omitted parts are made very obvious because an empty space exists on the layout jig. Without the jig, there would be no indication that anything is missing. Once parts are spot welded in place the jig is lifted off and welding is completed. Not only is dependence on worker vigilance reduced, cost savings result from the simplified, accelerated process.

Binney and Smith, maker of Crayola Crayons, uses light sensors to determine if each crayon is present in each box of crayons they produce. If a crayon is missing, the machines will stop automatically. Producing complete boxes of crayons right the first time is the preferred outcome.

A mail-order computer company has designed its boxes and packing material to avoid mistakes. The inner flaps of the box bottom have a large brightly colored warning to "Stop! Open the other side." When the correct side is opened, a book titled "Setting Up Your Computer" is on top of the packing material. The sequence of the book matches the arrangement of the contents of the box. Each instruction involves the next item from the box.

Airplane lavatory lights come on only when the door lock is engaged. This keeps customers from failing to lock the door. John Deere produced a gearbox that was assembled without oil, mounted on a machine, and required replacement after factor tests. A team streamlined production with a simple proximity switch that opens after all components were loaded into an assembly fixture. The switch prevents workers from using air wrenches to tighten bolts on the assembly until they cycle an oil gun into the gearbox. After filling the gearbox a solenoid releases the interlock sending air to the wrench. Then workers can tighten cover bolts and send the box to the next station.

The electrical connectors in one machine control formerly used only three-pin connectors to join each in a series. Labels instructed assemblers which boards went where and which connectors should be joined. But in the field, assemblers connecting and disconnecting them wear or bend the pins, which meant putting on a new plug. Soon the label was gone. The simple solution involved three, four and five-pin connectors that cannot join others and demand a single assembly sequence.

Ficarra's solution to labels that come off is to machine them into parts, especially when the function is to determine the correct orientation. On Varian machines, assemblers are guided by small machined-in pictures that cannot wear off.

Poka-yoke can also be applied to service-based organizations. The following is summarized from the paper "Using PokaYoke Concepts to Improve a Military Retail Supply System," which was printed in Production and Inventory Management Journal. While manufacturing typically only considers errors made by the producer, service industries must consider errors from both the server and the customer. Additionally, service organizations interface in many different ways to transfer a service to the customer. Because of the possibility that service errors can be created by both the customer and the server, service poka-yokes are grouped into two categories: fail-safing the server and fail-safing the customer.


There are three types poka-yoke systems that can be used to fail-safe the server: task poka-yokes, treatment poka-yokes, and tangible poka-yokes.

Task poka-yokes focus on server tasks and common mistakes servers make while performing the service/task for the customer. A good example of a control-oriented, task poka-yoke is the coin return machine used in may fast-food restaurants. The coin portion of a customer's change from payment is returned automatically through these machines. This takes the control out of the hands of the cash register operator, eliminating errors and speeding up the processing of customers.

Treatment poka-yokes focus on the social interaction between the customer and the server (i.e., eye contact, greeting). By mistake-proofing/standardizing what servers say and do to customers, managers can reasonably ensure that customers receive proper, fair and consistent treatment. Burger King utilized warning-oriented, treatment poka-yokes by placing "cue cards" at the service point ensuring that servers know what to say the minute they interface with the customer.

Tangible poka-yokes attempt to improve the tangible, physical impression and experience for the customer in addition to the direct task of the server (i.e., dirty office, unkempt server, sloppy documents). Motorola uses a control-oriented poka-yoke in the legal department by having a second lawyer inspect all legal work for spelling, presentation, and arithmetic. In this way, the legal department is ensuring that the "tangibles" of the service are satisfactory in addition to the task of the service (legal work).

Fail-safeing the customer also consists of three of poka-yoke systems: preparation poka-yokes, encounter poka-yokes, and resolution poka-yokes.

Preparation poka-yokes attempt to fully prepare the customer before they even enter the service. An example of a warning-oriented, preparation poka-yoke is the notice a university sends to each student prior to registration for the next semester detailing the courses he needs to finish his degree. This system could be converted to a control system by having an automated registration process which would not allow students to sign up for classes out of sequence or until all prerequisites are met.

Encounter poka-yokes attempt to fail-safe a customer at a service who may misunderstand, ignore, or forget the nature of the service or their role in it. A good example of a control-oriented, encounter poka-yoke is the use of concrete curbing at an oil& lube shop that directs customers so that they do not/cannot pull the wrong way into the station. This system also assists in the selection process so that customers are not served out of order.

Resolution poka-yokes attempt to remind customers of the value of their input to the continuous improvement of a service. A hotel which uses an automated check-out system through the television in each room could attach a few questions to the check-out process to ensure the customer provides feedback on key issues. This would be a controloriented resolution poka-yoke. Obviously, one of the keys to the success of any customer-oriented poka-yoke is to obtain willing customer participation.


Patel, Dale and Shaw note that there are a number of barriers a firm may face when implementing poka-yoke devices within their system. These include:

Difficulty in accepting change Justification of the investment Using inappropriate and ineffective methods Time requirements Difficulty encountered as a result of continuous process

Stewart and Grout, in an article entitled "The Human Side of Mistake-Proofing," make the following recommendations for the implementation of poka-yoke devices: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. The outcome of the process or routine must be known in advance so as to have a standard for comparison. The process must be stable, i.e., outcomes are not changing. There must be an ability to create a break between cause and effect in the process so as to provide an opportunity to insert a poka-yoke. Environments requiring substantial operator skill are prime locations for poka-yoke devices. Environments where training or turnover cost is high are prime locations for poka-yoke devices. Environments with frequent interruptions and distractions are prime locations for poka-yoke devices. Environments with a consistent set of mixed products are prime locations fopoka-yoke devices. The beginning of any process where there are multiple other possible processes that could be initiated are a prime location for poka-yoke devices. Locations in the process with similarly positioned or configured parts, controls or tools are prime locations for poka-yoke devices. 10. Any point in the process requiring replacement or orientation of parts in order to prevent mispositioning is a prime location for poka-yoke devices. 11. Any point in the process where adjustments are made for machine or process setups is a prime location for poka-yoke devices. John Grout attributed defects to three sources: variance, mistakes, and complexity. Complexity requires techniques which simplify the process while managing variance can be accomplished by utilizing statistical process control (SPC). However, if quality problems are the result of mistakes, poka-yoke devices are the appropriate technique to use. In this case, poka-yoke provide an even more effective quality improvement tool than SPC. Other poka-yoke benefits include reduced training costs and the advantage of freeing workers' time and minds for more creative and value-adding activities. Circumstances where poka-yoke is not the appropriate response are situations involving high speed production, situations where X-bar () & R charts are effective, and use in destructive testing. Other situations, however, provide

opportunities for simple, inexpensive, and fail-safe devices to improve performance. Grout relates the example of Lucent Technologies, which reported that half of their 3,300 mistake-proof devices cost less than $100. However, they estimate a net savings of $8.4 million or about $2,545 per device. Poka-yoke is a most impressive and powerful tool. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

What is six sigma and lean manufacturing?

Six sigma and lean manufacturing are toolkits to reduce waste in business processes. Both, six sigma and lean manufacturing, are proven concepts and have saved clients millions of dollars without capital investment. Six Sigma Systems helps your associates to generate business results. The return on investment provided by our approach exceeds 700%! What is six sigma? Six sigma is a philosophy of doing business with a focus on eliminating defects through fundamental process knowledge. Six sigma methods integrate principles of business, statistics and engineering to achieve tangible results. Six sigma tools are used to improve the processes and products of a company. They are applicable across every discipline including: Production, Sales, Marketing, Design, Administration and Service. Six sigma offers a wealth of tangible benefits. When skillfully applied by your people:

Six sigma reduces costs by 50% or more through a self-funded approach to improvement. Six sigma reduces the waste chain. Six sigma affords a better understanding of customer requirements. Six sigma improves delivery and quality performance. Six sigma provides critical process inputs needed to respond to. changing customer requirements. Six sigma develops robust products and processes. Six sigma drives improvements rapidly with internal resources.

What is lean manufacturing? Lean manufacturing is a proven approach to reduce waste and streamline operations. Lean manufacturing embraces a philosophy of continually increasing the proportion of value added activity of their business through ongoing waste elimination. A lean manufacturing approach provides companies with tools to survive in a global market that demands higher quality, faster delivery and lower prices. Specifically,

Lean manufacturing dramatically reduces the waste chain. Lean manufacturing reduces inventory and floor space requirements. Lean manufacturing creates more robust production systems. Lean manufacturing develops appropriate material delivery systems. Lean manufacturing improves layouts for increased flexibility.