Poka-yoke at Vinyl Technology
Poka-yoke is a Japanese concept loosely adapted from the more familiar English term “idiot-proof.” Rather than assume the worker is an idiot who needs to be protected from themselves, poka-yoke instead refers to the act of avoiding a really bad move.
Vinyl Technology is not the first to apply this methodology to manufacturing — the inventor of the concept, Shigeo Shingo, who created a process in which manufacturers, while assembling a small switch, would frequently forget to insert a spring under switch buttons. In Shingo’s version of the same process, the worker broke the single action into two: first preparing the required springs and placing them in a slot, and then inserting the springs from that slot into the switch. This method gave the worker an immediate signal that the process was not complete.
It was important to Shingo, just as it is important to Vinyl Technology, to identify the difference between a defect in production and inevitable human error. By making clear distinctions at the source of manufacturing defects, both kinds of mistakes can be mitigated. The result is a safe, efficient, cost-effective manufacturing floor.
Vinyl Technology integrates poka-yoke by implementing systems for long-term learning from errors and getting input from the operators themselves.