Supply Chain Wednesday: Lean Production and Poka-Yoke



(1) Lean: Without waste

It’s a very lean operation. They don’t have money for anything that’s not essential.

(2) Implement: To start using a process

We need to implement a new training program. The old one is terrible.

(3) To eliminate: To remove, delete, destroy, etc.

If we don’t eliminate the waste around here, we’ll all lose our jobs.



1. Why is lean manufacturing popular?

a. It adds value to products

b. It eliminates stuff that doesn’t add value to a product

c. Both A and B

2. Which one of these is an example of poka-yoke?

a. A rubber bar that prevents tall trucks from entering a warehouse

b. A manager that finds a faster way to process orders

c. A robot that brings the correct items to you

3. How might you explain poka-yoke to someone?

a. It’s things that reduce waste

b. It’s things that add value to a product

c. It’s things that stop us from making a mistake

7 ________________________



By Jeremy Schaar


Today on the blog you’ll learn what lean manufacturing is. You’ll learn about a specific way to implement lean manufacturing and you’ll learn three sentences that you might use on the job.

Concept Lean manufacturing is when you try to make everything add value to the final product. If it doesn’t add value to the final product, then you don’t do it. You eliminate it.

Here’s a simple example: Imagine that your company packs and ships books. Every time you finish packing a box with books, you check to make sure everything is tight by shaking the box. However, you never repack the books. They’re always tight. You can eliminate the shaking. It’s not adding any value.

Lean manufacturing is always looking for ways to eliminate things that don’t add value.

Example Toyota is famous for lean manufacturing. They have many ways of making sure everything adds value to the final product. One way is called “poka-yoke”. It’s a Japanese term that basically means “avoiding mistakes”. The idea is to build things into the system that will stop mistakes that would subtract value.

Here are some examples of poka-yoke:

  • A safety on a gun, so you can’t fire it accidentally
  • A loud beeping sound when a truck moves backwards, so no one gets hit
  • A check-list that makes sure you’ve done all the tasks
  • A picture of what a completed item should look like

On The Job Here are some sentences you might use at your job

Starting a conversation: I was reading about this Japanese idea of poka-yoka. Do you know about it?

Explaining poka-yoke: Basically, it’s anything that prevents us from making mistakes

Making a suggestion: I was thinking there might be some easy ways for us implement poka-yoke and reduce errors around here.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

B, A, C


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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