06 March 2019 The meaning of “poka yoke”: why it is becoming increasingly functional in Lean production processes
POKA-YOKE is a Japanese term. But which is its real meaning? It is used to indicate a design choice or apparatus that imposes restrictions on how an operation can be carried out to force the user to do so correctly. This composite word literally means “avoid (yokeru) careless mistakes (poka)”.
Examples of poka-yoke are commonly found in the IT and audio/video sectors, for example in many electronic connectors.
There are three kinds of poka-yoke:
- Contact method: the physical characteristics of an object (shape, colour, etc.) highlight the correct position and prevent malfunctions due to incorrect contact;
- Fixed-value method: checks that a specific number of steps have been completed;
- Motion-step method: checks that all the steps in a specific process have been carried out in the correct order.