What exactly is Jidoka anyway? Jidoka provides the machines and the machine operators the ability to identify abnormal conditions and stop the machines immediately. The main purpose of Jidoka is to diagnose problems immediately and consequently correct them. It helps to improve the quality of the production process greatly. Besides, it helps workers to perform more efficient work. In other words, workers will not be idle when something goes wrong at a particular machine. Eventually you can complete the work on time. No wonder Toyota Production System today uses Jidoka in all their production shops which has increased their overall productivity to a great extent.
When there is a problem, Jidoka mainly focuses on the causes of problems as work stops instantly. This way, you can improve the production process as you can detect the actual problems and rectify them immediately. Sometimes Jidoka is called automation. It means the automation of human intelligence. It gives the machine the ability to discriminate between good and bad parts independently despite not being monitored by the operators. Therefore, the operator need not watch the machines. Eventually the production and productivity will increase as one single operator can handle many machines at the same time. It’s called multi process handling.
How did Jidoka come into practice? In 1990, the founder of Toyota group of companies invented this concept when he noticed a textile loom stopping automatically when a thread broke. Usually when a thread broke, it would lead to producing defective fabric and hence each machine had to be watched closely. With this fantastic invention, a single operator began to control several machines at a time.
Needless to say Jidoka is a great invention in the field of production engineering. It helps to detect problems while the machines are working and stops them when something goes wrong. Thus, defects in manufacturing are avoided. Moreover, the operator can work on several machines at the same time. In short, the overall productivity increases significantly.