What Is POLCA?

POLCA stands for Paired-Cell Overlapping Loops of Cards with Authorization and was developed by Rajan Suri around 1990. It is sometimes mentioned alongside kanban and CONWIP as a production control system. Let me explain to you how POLCA works. In my next post I look at the pros and cons of POLCA. In my last post of this mini-series, I will show you the calculation for the number of POLCA cards, including some critical comments.

The similar-sounding word Polka is also a Czech dance music and textile pattern, hence the colorful illustration of the polka dots on the left (don’t worry, more technical diagrams will follow below). Continue reading What Is POLCA?

Lean and Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is one of the hot topics of modern manufacturing, although some (myself included) say that it is overrated. Lean is one of the older but also still important topics in manufacturing. In this post I would like to compare lean and Industry 4.0. What are the differences, what are the commonalities? Can they complement each other or do they conflict? Continue reading Lean and Industry 4.0

Examples of Jidoka

In my last two posts I talked a lot about what jidoka is, and the underlying philosophy. Many articles do so. But there are almost no actual examples out there of jidoka. But without examples it is difficult to really understand a concept. A great historic example of this is the Toyoda Model G automatic loom from 1925. This is well known, but here I would like to show you how it connects to jidoka. I will also give you a more modern example of a product that you may even own.

Continue reading Examples of Jidoka

The Philosophy and Practicality of Jidoka

In my last post I explained what jidoka is (at least in my view). The key part is to stop the line for any irregularity, and resolve the problem.  Also try to make sure this irregularity does not happen again. However, this definition is far from universally accepted, and there are many different opinions. Here I will try to show the philosophical idea behind Jidoka as one of the two pillars of the Toyota Production System (the other is JIT). Continue reading The Philosophy and Practicality of Jidoka

What Exactly Is Jidoka?

Jidoka is a term commonly used in lean manufacturing, and widely considered one of the pillars of the Toyota Production System, the other being Just in Time (JIT). However, while the word jidoka is often used to impress others, the ideas behind it are much less frequently found outside of Toyota. Maybe this is because so many people interpret jidoka differently. In this first post of a three post series on jidoka, we look at what jidoka actually is. Continue reading What Exactly Is Jidoka?

Toyota Standard Work – Part 3: Standard Work Layout

This post is the third in this series on how Toyota plans standard work. The first one was the production capacity sheet to define what capacity you have available. The second one was a standard work combination table to define when the operator is doing what. Finally, the third of the “famous three slips”, presented in this post, is a standard work layout sheet to help the layout and arrangement of the machines. Continue reading Toyota Standard Work – Part 3: Standard Work Layout