What is Mistake-Proofing (Poka Yoke)?
The goal of mistake-proofing or Poka Yoke is simple: to eliminate mistakes.
In order to eliminate mistakes, we need to modify processes so that it is impossible to make them in the first place. With mistake-proofing solutions, many repetitive tasks that depend upon the memory of the worker are built into the process itself. Mistake-proofing frees the time and minds of the workforce to pursue more creative and value-adding activities.
The Mistake-Proofing Mindset
Mistake-proofing also involves a change in the mindset of the organization. Organizations must establish a mistake-proofing mindset that promotes the belief that it is unacceptable to allow for even a small number of product or service defects. In companies that have a six-sigma initiative, the six-sigma objective translates into a goal of less than 3.4 defects per million opportunities or 3.4 DPMOs for short.
Mistake-Proofing is focused on eliminating mistakes so that the DPMO (defects per million opportunities) is significantly reduced.