The POKA-YOKE Approach
The zero-defects target is most often achieved through a poka-yoke technique.
Even when the 6-Sigma methodology (more ») is deployed, eventually a Poka-Yoke device may achieve the 0-defects target.
The Poka-Yoke technique consists in elaborating creative methods that will assure "things will be done right the first time", with 100% guarantee of rightness.
Simply put, mistakes are just not possible.
The poka-yoke technique is applicable to all processing operations (from manufacturing to software development, from construction activities to service processing....).
Therefore Poka-Yoke has been growing over time from the role of a technique to that of a Lean Discipline. It becomes a fantastic allied in Lean Manufacturing (more »), Lean Project and Construction Management (more ») and Lean Thinking (more »).
There are numerous examples of Poka-Yoke applications in everyday life, as well as in industry.
For instance, the network socket and plug are an example of a poka-yoke device - the correct insertion is practically guaranteed and fool-proof:
To prevent careless setters from leaving a screwdriver in the front cover of a machine that requires frequent settings, all is required is just a spring:
A tool-cabinet trolley can be prevented from overturning by allowing the opening of one drawer only at a time:
And the correct assembly of 2 components can be made mistake-proof with simple poka-yoke shaping:
Generally, a poka-yoke target is achieved very simply and inexpensively: the poor-man approach plays a determinant role when it comes to elaborate fool-proof processing methods.
Obviously, tools are tools and techniques are just techniques.
The difference between excellent enterprises and ordinary enterprises is not made by tools or techniques. The difference is made by people and their quality culture.