Generally, poka-yoke refers to simple fool proofing devices that are employed to prevent errors occurring. Poka-yoke can be applied to the office as much as to the manufacturing unit and in any type of organisation.

Poka-yoke is a Japanese term that means mistake-proofing. A poka-yoke can be any mechanism in a lean environment that helps an operator avoid mistakes. It is designed to eliminate product defects by preventing, correcting, or drawing attention to errors as they occur.

The main thrust of poka-yoke is in acknowledging that in the best regulated organisations errors will occur so if appropriate poka-yokes are implemented, then they can be caught quickly and prevented from resulting in defects. By eliminating defects at the source, the cost of mistakes within the organisation is reduced.

In service industries, wherever there is an interface with the client or patient there is an opportunity for a mistake because there is a dependence upon clarity of information, quality of training, memory and the limits on human consistency.

These can all lead to "dirty" data producing a defective input so poka-yoke needs to be introduced into the process so that the organisation receives "clean"data.

Poka-yoke is developed, not purchased and is unique to your organisation's requirements. With the correct assistance and training defects can be eliminated.


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