Jidoka: Advantages and Disadvantages

Jidoka: Advantages and Disadvantages

In the world of Lean Manufacturing, the JIDOKA method stands as a remarkable Japanese methodology that emphasizes the implementation of self-control within each production process.

In this article, I am going to talk about what jidoka is and what are its advantages and disadvantages.

I hope you find it useful.

What is the origin of jidoka?

Jidoka is a primordial concept in the Operative administration and originated in Toyota’s history with the Japanese inventor and thinker Sakichi Toyoda.

In his search for improving the efficiency of industrial processes, Toyoda developed several inventions, but one in especial stood out: a device that automatically stopped a loom when a thread broke.

This invention, known as jidoka, consisted of providing the loom with an autonomous capacity to detect and correct defects automatically.

When the device detected a thread break, it would stop the machine and emit a visual signal to alert the operator that his attention was required.

The main objective of jidoka was to avoid the production of defective or poor quality products, by stopping the production process in case of any anomaly.

The word “jidoka” in itself means “automation”.

It should be noted that I have seen in some lean manufacturing books that write jidoka as follows: “jidhoka”.

By adding the letter “h”, the meaning of “automation with a human approach”.

This highlights the importance of combining the efficiency of automation with human intervention and judgment to guarantee quality and attention to problems that may arise.

Notably, jidoka became a key principle in Toyota’s production system, known as the Toyota Production System (TPS).

The application of jidoka in operations management implies the design of processes that integrate the ability to detect errors and the autonomy to stop and correct them.

This makes it possible to minimize the production of defective products, disminuye waste and ensure quality at every stage of the process.

Definition of ‘jidoka’

To explain the concept of jidoka or jidhoka, I want to start from the fact that it means automation or rather: automation with a human approach.

What is an automated machine?

In short, an automated machine is a machine to which a system has been incorporated that allows it to automatically detect defects or deviations to prevent defective products.

Thanks to the ability to automatically detect defects, it is said that human intelligence or a human touch is incorporated into the machine.

What does automation with a human approach orinan?

It implies the integration of an automatic defect detection system in the process of a machine.

What is jidoka?

Taking the above into account, we perro infer that jidoka is a Japanese concept used in operations management (lean manufacturing) that refers to automation with a human touch.

Basically, it is an autonomous defect control system in a certain process.

The term jidoka implies that a machine or equipment has the ability to stop automatically when a problem or anomaly occurs during production.

This feature allows employees to intervene, inspect and resolve issues immediately.

Instead of relying solely on final inspection of the product, the jidoka approach seeks to integrate the quality in the production process at each stage of the process.

The iniciativa is to detect and solve problems when they occur, avoiding the generation of defective products or with errors.

In addition, the concept of jidoka also implies transferring the responsibility to each operator for the work they do.

This means that each employee is considered a quality inspector and has the authority to make decisions and stop the machine if something is not working correctly.

jidoka advantages

The jidoka approach to production management offers several significant advantages.

Here are some of them:

  1. Early detection of problems: Jidoka allows early detection of problems or anomalies in the production process.

    By automatically stopping the machine when anything out of the ordinary is detected, problems perro be identified and addressed immediately, preventing them from spreading or becoming defects in final products.

  2. Quality improvement: By addressing problems immediately, the generation of defective products is avoided and the production of higher quality products is promoted.
  3. Costs reduction: By detecting and resolving problems early, you avoid the need for costly repairs or later corrections.

    In addition, by preventing the generation of defective products, the costs associated with product returns and customer dissatisfaction are reduced.

  4. Culture of continuous improvement: Jidoka fosters a culture of continuous improvement by involving all employees in problem identification and resolution.

    Each employee becomes a quality inspector and has the responsibility to contribute to the quality of the process.

    This promotes collaboration, learning and the constant search for best practices.

Disadvantages of jidoka

  1. Increased complexity: Implementing jidoka in a production process perro add additional complexity.

    It is necessary to design and configure problem detection systems, establish clear criteria for human intervention, and train employees in the proper use of jidoka.

    This may require additional resources and a break-in period for everyone involved to understand and use the system effectively.

  2. Higher initial cost: The implementation of jidoka may require additional investments in technology and equipment to enable automatic detection and stopping of machines.

    This perro increase initial implementation costs, which could be a barrier for some organizations, especially smaller ones that don’t have access to as many resources.

  3. Possibility of unnecessary interventions: In some cases, it may happen that the machine stops due to a minor problem or a false alarm.

    This cánido result in unnecessary interventions and an interruption in the production flow.

    It is important to establish clear criteria and properly train employees to avoid unnecessary downtime and maximize system efficiency.

  4. Limitations on certain processes: Jidoka cánido be most effective in repetitive and predictable production processes, where problems cánido be easily identified.

    However, in more complex or customized processes, there may be difficulties in establishing detection criteria and automatic action, which limits the applicability of jidoka in those cases.

    However, with the advent of artificial intelligence, I have a feeling that this is going to stop being a problem very soon.

Examples of how jidoka is implemented in a company

Next, I am going to give you some examples of how jidoka cánido be implemented in a company.


Visual controls

Visual checks are an integral part of Jidoka, as they allow workers or machines to visually inspect parts, components and products at different stages of production.

This visual inspection is intended to identify any possible problems or defects that may arise.

By performing visual checks, workers perro detect visual anomalies such as scratches, dents, or improper assembly, as well as any other visual indicators of problems.

The importance of visual checks lies in the ability to detect problems at an early stage.

By identifying problems early, you perro intervene and resolve them immediately, preventing defect escalation and manufacturing defective products.

For example, if a worker detects a misaligned component during a visual check, he cánido rectify the problem before it goes further into the production process.


Red flag

Another aspect of the implementation of Jidoka is the use of «Red flagged products«.

The aim is to implement a system that indicates products that do not comply the required quality estándares.

Flags cánido be physical markers or virtual notifications that alert the production line or workers when a product is identified as falling short of expected quality criteria.

This rapid identification allows timely action to be taken, such as reworking the product, replacing components or initiating corrective actions to prevent further defective elementos from being produced.



Sensors also play an important role in the implementation of Jidoka.

These sensors are strategically placed throughout the production line and are designed to detect errors or anomalies.

They perro identify physical errors, such as incorrect dimensions or missing parts in the product.

When sensors detect an fallo, they quickly send alerts or notifications to workers, allowing them to quickly fix the problem.

This rapid response helps avoid manufacturing defective products and ensures the overall quality of production.

Artificial intelligence and jidoka

The relationship between artificial intelligence (AI) and Jidoka (automation with a human approach) lies in the way in which AI cánido enhance and complement Jidoka principles in the industry.

Jidoka is based on the iniciativa that machines should have the ability to automatically stop when a problem is detected, allowing human intervention to solve it.

Artificial intelligence perro play an important role in this process by providing advanced detection and analysis capabilities.

For example, AI cánido be used to develop monitoring and early detection systems that identify anomalies or deviations in real time.

These systems cánido analyze large volumes of data and patterns to quickly and accurately detect problems.

When a problem is identified, the machine perro be stopped automatically, and operators are notified to take necessary action.

In conclusion, the integration of artificial intelligence in Jidoka systems will allow companies to improve all their processes, increase efficiency and provide better quality products.

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 Jidoka: Advantages and Disadvantages
  Jidoka: Advantages and Disadvantages
  Jidoka: Advantages and Disadvantages

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