Jidoka, Autonomation & Lean Production

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  • 0:00 Becoming More Efficient
  • 0:50 Autonomation
  • 1:39 Jidoka
  • 2:30 Lean Production
  • 3:11 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

More efficient production is a goal of almost every business. In this lesson, we look at how three different concepts can help a business become more efficient: judoka, autonomation, and lean production.

Becoming More Efficient

Imagine that you are an efficiency consultant specializing in the production of widgets. The factory that has hired you needs your help. They produce very high quality widgets that sell for a fair price but are unable to keep up with demand. It seems that their production methods are simply too inefficient. The board of directors has made it clear that they are willing to invest heavily in the process but want a clear plan forward. You have been tasked with developing and implementing that plan.

So what do you do? If you're smart, you'll make use of the techniques we're about to discuss in this lesson. We'll use Jidoka to treat situations as they arise, autonomation to make the most of existing technologies, and lean production to create an environment that strives towards efficiency in all aspects of the production process.


First things first, you suggest taking a look at the machines that are on the line. You find that many of them are outdated, causing significant delays when each machine goes down. As a result, you suggest that they are replaced. However, you don't just want newer versions of the same machines. Instead, you want machines that are close to being autonomous. By autonomous, you mean have the ability to both identify and fix any mistakes.

The board challenges back that this would be expensive. Many of these machines don't even exist. However, you restate that you only want machines that come close to this ideal. Instead of being autonomous, you want machines that are capable of autonomation, or able to work just fine on their own until some error occurs, at which time the machine signals for someone to come fix it. The company grants that this is a reasonable request and agrees with it.


However, that's not all you want. You also suggest that the company should adopt the concept of jidoka. Jidoka is an idea that suggests that when a problem occurs it should be fixed immediately, but once a solution is found, a process should exist for making sure that the problem doesn't happen again. This causes the board to scratch their heads for a moment. After all, isn't the point of all this efficiency to create less work?

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