Jidoka is lovely Japanese word with multiple meanings:
- Automation with a human touch,
- Humanized or intelligent automation
Essentially, Jidoka entails giving processes, automated and otherwise, sufficient ‘awareness’ so they can:
- Detect process malfunctions or product defects
- Stop, and
- Alert the operator
Perhaps the simplest definition is ‘to build quality into process using embedded, binary tests’.
We had a charming example in our home this week. Our nine-year-old, Matthew, is shooting up like a bean sprout which means frequent checks on the ‘clothing situation’.
As far as I can tell, the process steps include:
- Put questionable trousers, shirts and sweaters on top of Matthew’s bed,
- Matthew tries on each piece, and
- We keep or discard said piece based on a series of tests.
Here are the tests my wife & Matthew have devised for shirts and sweaters:
- Can Matthew get it over his noggin?
- Do the sleeves come up above the wrist?
- When he raises his arms, can you see his belly button?
These are applied in sequence, of course. You’ll notice they are binary and therefore, self-diagnostic.
The process is very effective – I’d estimate the first time through (FTT) is 100%. It also generates big laughs for the whole family.
Especially ridiculous fits trigger a droll Matthew parade. “Hey everyone, look at this one!”