JIDOKA: a pillar of the lean manufacturing

I would like to write a post regarding my OSS for this week, JIDOKA. It’s a very interesting concept related with lean manufacturing, its founder is Sakichi Toyoda and it’s not only used by Toyota, nowadays, it’s used by many other big industries because it entails a lot of advantages.

The origin of Jidoka:
In 1896, Sakichi Toyoda invented Japan’s first self-powered loom called the “Toyoda Power Loom”. Subsequently, he incorporated lots of revolutionary inventions into his looms, including the weft-breakage automatic stopping device (which automatically stopped the loom when a thread breakage was detected), the warp supply device and the automatic shuttle changer. Then, in 1924, Sakichi invented the Type-G Toyoda Automatic Loom, the world’s first automatic loom with a non-stop shuttle-change motion. This loom automatically stopped when it detected a problem such as thread breakage.

The meaning of JIDOKA is “automation” or “autonomation” which implies “self-working” and “self-moving”, and JIDOKA can be defined as automation with a human touch. This concept is based in 4 main principles:

  1. Detect the abnormality or problem
  2. Stop the operation
  3. Fix or correct the immediate condition
  4. Investigate the root cause and install a countermeasure

As I said above, JIDOKA has some important advantages such as higher quality and machine up-time, reduction in labor, lower repair costs, improvement of the customer satisfaction and increase of the productivity. The purpose of this concept is to free equipment from the necessity of constant human attention, separate people from machines and allow workers to staff multiple operations.

JIDOKA allows authorizing the machine operator to stop the flow line so that defective pieces will not move to the next station. This term is very related with Just-In-Time (JIT), another lean manufacturing concept, because in JIT systems, it’s absolutely vital to produce with zero defects. As we can see in the following picture, they are the main two pillars (principles) of the Toyota Production System along with Just-In-Time.


Finally, I want to share a video with you in which you will see clearly the Toyota Production System (TPS):

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