In this short video Mr. Arthur explains mistake proofing with Poka-Yoke.

Poka-Yoke is a Japanese term which translates roughly to mistake proofing. It is a technique of preventing errors from occurring by designing the manufacturing process, equipment and tools in such a way that an operation literally cannot be performed incorrectly. An example would be requiring completed components to pass through a customized opening to ensure that dimensions do not exceed tolerance limits. A major objective is to minimize the need for rework.

Want to know more?

The Encyclopedia of Operations Management explains it as:

The process of identifying likely causes of a failure and preventing the failure or at least mitigating the impact of the failure; also known as mistake proofing, fool proofing, idiot proofing, and fail safing, making fault tolerant and robust; the Japanese phrase “poka yoke” means to avoid mistakes.
Error proofing principles can improve both product and process design in all types of organizations. Ideally, error proofing devices are (1) simple and cheap, (2) deployed close to where the work is being done, and (3) result in what Shingo calls “100%” inspection and zero errors.

You can see more videos by Mr. Arthur here, and his book Lean Six Sigma Demystified here.

Following resources will come in handy for your Poka-Yoke efforts:


Hill, A.V., 2012. The encyclopedia of operations management: a field manual and glossary of operations management terms and concepts. FT Press.

Holloway, M. and Nwaoha, C., 2013. Dictionary of industrial terms. John Wiley & Sons, Inc..

This post was originally written for The Lean Presentation.