Error-proofing is the process of anticipating, detecting and preventing errors that adversely affect product, service and process quality, and efficiency. It focuses on preventing errors or defects at the source using standard work practices that ensure precision in work processes.

Error proofing is a key enabler of Lean production. Lean production requires proactive quality (defect prevention with mistake proofing) as opposed to reactive quality (inspection and rework). As Lean production lines operate with the minimum of inventory, there is no cover for defective parts. Quality problems are felt immediately throughout the line, which stops when such problems occur. Good quality is a prerequisite for the line to flow and error-proofing is essential tool to ensure good quality.

Also known as poka yoke from the Japanese, ‘poka’ (inadvertent) and ‘yokeru’ (to avoid).

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