What is the Lean Six Sigma term for mistake proofing?

Mistake proofing, also known as “pokayoke“, is a concept developed by Japanese engineer Shigeo Shingo, and is an important part of Lean Six Sigma.  Mistake proofing is a set of techniques designed to help detect, correct, and prevent errors before they reach the customer.  Mistake proofing is a powerful tool for improving quality and cost savings.

The idea behind mistake-proofing is to design processes and products to make it impossible for errors to occur.  This is achieved by using a variety of techniques such as simplifying data entry, using visual aids, making automatic checks, and providing feedback to the operator.  The goal of mistake-proofing is to make it easier to do the job right the first time and to make it impossible to do it wrong.

In Lean Six Sigma, mistake-proofing is a key part of process improvement.  It helps to identify and eliminate sources of errors, reduce variation, and improve process reliability and consistency.  For example, when implementing Lean Six Sigma, mistake-proofing can be used to simplify and standardize processes, improve data entry accuracy, and eliminate manual steps.  This can help to reduce costs and lead times while improving quality and customer satisfaction.

Mistake-proofing is important for achieving quality, reliability, and cost savings.  It should be an integral part of any Lean Six Sigma implementation, as it can help to ensure that the processes are being done correctly, consistently, and efficiently. Mistake-proofing is covered in the Six Sigma Body of Knowledge under the Six Sigma Black Belt.  It is typically covered under Lean since poka-yoke focuses on error removal from a process.  Here is an example of how Mistake Proofing is used in three different industries:

Mistake proofing used in healthcare

Mistake proofing is used in healthcare to reduce the potential for medical mistakes.  Examples of mistake-proofing techniques in healthcare include:

  • Automated medication dispensing systems that require nurses to scan patient identification and medication labels before administering a drug.
  • Checklists and protocols that must be completed before procedures are performed.
  • Barcoding technology that helps reduce the risk of administering the wrong medication to a patient.
  • Automated systems that alert healthcare providers when a patient‘s vital signs are outside of normal ranges.
  • Automated systems that alert healthcare providers when a patient‘s medications need to be updated or changed. – Automated systems that alert healthcare providers when a patient’s lab results are abnormal.

Mistake proofing used in government services

Mistake proofing is used in government services to reduce the potential for errors and omissions.  This can include training staff on the proper procedures and protocols, implementing automated systems to reduce data entry and manual processing errors, and using builtin checks and balances to ensure accuracy.  Examples of mistake-proofing in government services include using electronic signature software and electronic filing systems to reduce the risk of errors in paperwork and using automated systems to detect and correct errors in data entry.

Mistake proofing used in manufacturing

It is used to ensure that the product meets the required quality standards by eliminating potential sources of errors.  Mistake proofing can be implemented in various ways, such as requiring operators to use specific tools, following a specific process, or using color coding to distinguish parts.  It can also involve installing alarms or other warning systems to alert operators when an error is made.

Learn More

Management and Strategy Institute offers mistake-proofing training as part of our Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification course.

David Lovell

David Lovell

Master of Business Administration
Festus, Missouri