Thursday, September 27, 2012

Essential for Building Quality in the Production Process

There are many management concepts that the Toyota style of production has introduced to the business world and Jidoka is one of them. This particular concept enables a production line to be stopped if any problem happens. There are many chances of mistakes occurring on the shop floor and this can obviously have a very negative effect on the company's output. Various mistakes can result in equipment downtime, delays in meeting targets and also poor quality of the finished products. The company will also lose money because of missed business opportunities as well as wastage of materials since the rejection rate will be high.
The concept of Jidoka refers to "automation with a human touch". This refers to the ability of machines to shut themselves down (or be shut down) in the event of any mistake in the production process.
According to the concept of Jidoka,
- An operator on the shop floor will be able to stop production at the very instance that a problem occurs.
- This helps isolate the problem to that particular area so that it can be rectified immediately without allowing the defective pieces to go further down the line. If the product is necessary as a raw material for further stages this will help limit the problem to one particular stage.
- The shop floor is arranged so that an operator can control more than one machine at the same time. If there is a problem the worker will be able to shut production down immediately. This sensible arrangement of the shop floor ensures that the company does not have to hire a lot of people.
- In many instances, the machines themselves will have certain features such as lasers or automatic switches so that they can stop automatically in the event of a problem. If a particular machine shuts down, it can be repaired while ensuring that other machines keep on working.
Companies can really improve their productivity and reduce wastage by adopting this management concept. However, they need to follow this concept in the right manner in order to get the best results. The employees of the company will also have to receive good training in adopting Jidoka order to ensure that they do what is required of them. As a matter of fact, it makes good sense to hire a management consultant who will enable the company to make the transition to the new style of operation.

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