In this YouTube video, Tom Huckabee, Development Specialist for Processes and Information Systems, explains Jidoka or autonomation and its basic principles.

He defines Jidoka as a “device to auto-stop a process to prevent a defect or a problem.” 

The key is the automatic part.

Huckabee breaks the principle of Jidoka into a few simple steps:

1. Discover an abnormality (automatic)

2. STOP (automatic)

3. Fix the immediate problem (Human)

4. Investigate and correct root cause (Human)

The word autonomation comes from Taichi Ohno’s comparison to the autonomic nervous system in the human body where processes occur automatically until there is a problem.

Huckabee gives an example of a detection mechanism on a printing press that would raise the print cylinder if a sheet of paper is missing. 

So, the first two steps of Jidoka occur automatically as described above. Then the human element comes into play for the last two steps.

As such, the process operator’s expertise is extended by a monitoring device within the process itself.

While not mentioned in Tom’s presentation, often there is a subtle difference made between Jidoka (autonomation) and poka-yoke (error-proofing). 

Jidoka incorporates the concept of automatic stopping of a process before a defect or error occurs whereas poka-yoke need not have the automatic component and has three stages depending on the error-proofing design and whether the error did occur:

  1. Prevent the error before it occurred
  2. 100% detection that an error did occur
  3. Prevention of the error going

You can watch Tom Huckabee’s video here.