What is Poka Yoke?

Poka Yoke is an error prevention concept originating from Japan. By avoiding (yoke) errors (poka), continuous quality improvement is to be achieved. Poka Yoke measures are used to design processes and systems in such a way that errors are automatically detected and corrected and do not occur in the future. The goal of Poka Yoke is to increase the reliability of processes while improving the quality of products. The term Poka Yoke was coined in the 1960s by Shigeo Shingeo, an industrial engineer working at Toyota.

How does Poka Yoke work?

The concept is based on the fact that human errors are often caused by carelessness, distraction or lack of experience. Poka Yoke therefore involves designing processes to eliminate or at least reduce such sources of error. Various techniques are used, such as:

  1. Preventing errors Preventing an error from occurring in the first place by, for example, allowing certain components to be installed only in a certain sequence.

  2. Early detection of errors Early detection of errors by means of warning signals, optical inspection systems or other control mechanisms.

  3. Correction of errors Immediate correction of errors by, for example, automatic shutdown of the machine or feedback to the operator.

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