Jidoka: A Lean Method for Quality Assurance

Automation with a human face, or “autonomation,” Jidoka allows the control system to supervise manufacturing, stopping any process immediately once a problem or error is detected.

Despite being one of the most important principles of Lean manufacturing, Jidoka is often underrated by practitioners of the Toyota Production System. Jidoka is all about quality at the source, or built-in quality. Without excellent quality of product and service, no company can survive. Jidoka is the route through which this is achieved.

The automotive and engineering industries have already applied and reaped the fruits of Lean in their businesses. Now, more and more pharmaceutical manufacturers are embracing the principles advanced by the Toyota Production System. Novartis, for example, has made the bold claim that it plans to become the Toyota of the pharmaceutical industry.

This practice speeds up root-cause analysis and helps companies move closer to True solutions.

Process analytical technologies (PAT) best embody Jidoka in the pharmaceutical industry today. “PAT advances are now seen most often in the fill and finish portions of manufacturing, with the goal of increasing throughput and decreasing cost of quality,”

Once an API / Formulation or biologic product has been produced and needs to be packaged, the Jidoka principles apply very well, so we can say Jidoka is very useful in pharmaceutical packing.

Jidoka Principles:

This method relies on four simple principles to ensure that companies deliver defect-free products:

1. Discover an abnormality

2. Stop the process

3. Fix the immediate problem

4. Investigate and solve the root cause

By following these principles, companies can identify and address issues in their production process before they become major problems. This not only ensures that customers receive high-quality products but also helps companies save time and resources by preventing the need for costly rework.

What is JIDOKA Pillar:

The Jidoka pillar is a crucial aspect of Toyota’s manufacturing philosophy. It goes beyond simply shutting down a machine when something goes wrong. Instead, it empowers every process, whether human or automatic, to autonomously detect abnormal conditions and stop. This means that a team member pulling an Andon cord on the assembly line is just as much a part of Jidoka as an automatic machine.

There are two distinct parts to Jidoka.

1-The first is the separation of man from machine. In the original parent company, it was common for a single person to operate many machines since they were automated.

2-The second part of Jidoka is the concept of building in 100% quality every time at the process and not inspecting it downstream. This means that you must have a highly capable process and know how to maintain all the key variables in the process so that a good part is made every time. If a problem occurs, the machine should stop right away.

The most obvious example of Jidoka in action is on FMCG and Pharma packing lines. If an operator sees a mistake, they stop the line, and the team leader quickly diagnoses what happened. They either repair the part in line in one cycle or tag it for off-line repair later and then problem-solve why it happened. This example is easy to see and relies upon the skills of the people in the work area to function properly.

Jidoka in Pharmaceuticals:

Jidoka is a lean manufacturing concept that emphasizes the use of automation and error-proofing to prevent or detect defects in the production process. In pharmaceutical manufacturing, jidoka is particularly useful because even small errors can have serious consequences for patient safety.

 By implementing jidoka principles such as visual management, mistake-proofing devices, and automated feedback systems, pharmaceutical companies can ensure that their processes are reliable and consistent.

For example, jidoka techniques can be used to detect missing or mislabeled ingredients early on in the production process, preventing them from making it into finished products. Jidoka also promotes a culture of continuous improvement by encouraging employees to identify problems and come up with solutions. Overall, jidoka helps ensure that pharmaceutical companies meet regulatory requirements and maintain high-quality standards while improving efficiency and reducing waste.

Jidoka, also known as autonomation, is a widely adopted Lean method in manufacturing and product development. Its primary purpose is to protect companies from delivering low-quality products or defects to customers while maintaining their takt time.

In summary, Jidoka is a powerful tool for quality assurance that can help companies improve their production processes and deliver better products to their customers.

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