What’s the secret?
“ It’s a mystery to me – our plant is as sophisticated as you can get,yet with all this innovation at our disposal we still make defects. I can’t believe all those statistics about parts per million and zero defects coming from Japan. There must be a gimmick. With all the variability of parts coming from hundreds of vendors and going through fifty different processes with a hundred machines, it is impossible not to produce some defects. So what’s the trick? Where is the hidden weapon? You too may be a little confused and frustrated with the concept of zero defects and by now tried and disbelieving of all the stories about quality and Japanese manufacturing productivity.
Our company leads study missions that take manufacturing people through Japanese plants to learn about these methods that have helped reshape the international economic order. In visits to over 200 different Japanese plants, we have seen the quality charts and the multitude of simple poka-yoke devices used to prevent defects from occurring. It is not one device, but the application of hundreds and thousands of these very simple “ fail-safing” mechanisms that day after day has brought the quality miracle to Japan.
The concept of poka-yoke is much too significant to limit to an engineering or design department removed from the daily experience of the manufacturing floor. We hope that this book will be seriously studied and used diligently in study groups by line workers and supervisors. It was designed with the intent to involve employees, at every level,in the process of eliminating all defects from production. We hope that American industry will use these ideas widely and quickly to help bring their companies to world class status.