Jidoka sometimes is called “autonomation,” “intelligent automation,” “automation with a human touch” or “automation with human intelligence.”
It provides machines and operators the ability to detect when an abnormal condition has occurred and immediately stop work when a problem first occurs. This enables operations to build in quality at each process by eliminating the root causes of defects. It also increases work efficiency by separating workers and machines, which eliminates the need for operators to continuously watch machines, as they can handle several machines at once.
It is a quality control process that applies the following four principles:
- Detect the abnormality
- Fix or correct the immediate condition
- Investigate the root cause and install a countermeasure
The concept of jidoka was developed by Sakichi Toyoda, founder of the Toyota Group, in the early 1900’s. He invented a textile loom that stopped automatically when any thread broke. Previously, if a thread broke the loom would produce defective fabric, so each machine needed to be watched by an individual operator.