Building quality into the process, aka Jidoka, is a cornerstone of the Toyota Production System.
And embedded tests are a cornerstone of Jidoka.
To make a good product, or provide a good service, I need:
- A clear picture of what good is (i.e. a Standard)
- Quick feedback on how I'm doing right now, and
- A way of getting back to a good condition
Embedded tests address element 2, and should be
- Low cost, and
- Binary (i.e. OK/Not OK)
What's the best source of embedded tests?
Wait for it...front-line team members.
Who knows the work better?
Who else has absorbed the 'nicks & knacks of the work'?
That's why Total Involvement is the heart of the Lean Business System.
Without it, the system is akin to a beautiful sailboat - without any wind.
Which leads us to Respect for People, another central tenet, and the topic of an upcoming blog.