Book Talk: Mistake Proofing

Mistake proofing, also known as poka-yoke or error proofing, is an important lean tool, based on the principle that the best way to reduce errors is to prevent them from happening in the first place.

We publish several books about mistake proofing. To understand the fundamental concept, you might read Zero Quality Control: Source Inspection and the Poka-Yoke System by one of the original lean thinkers, Shigeo Shingo.

For a how-to guide, try Poka-Yoke: Improving Product Quality by Preventing Defects. We also have a good guide in our Shopfloor series, Mistake-Proofing for Operators: The ZQC System. The book is also available as part of a learning package.

Another good book is Make No Mistake!: An Outcome-Based Approach to Mistake-Proofing by C. Martin Hinckley. (Last year when I vacationed in Alaska, the title of that book prompted me to buy a notepad I found showing a moose grilling meat, with the caption, “Make No Moosteak.” It still makes me smile.)

A concept related to mistake proofing is FMEA, failure mode and effect analysis. We have two books discussing that concept: The Basics of FMEA: Second Edition by Robin E. McDermott; Raymond J. Mikulak; Michael R. Beauregard, and Strategic Error-Proofing: Achieving Success Every Time with Smarter FMEAs by John J. Casey.

If your organization has not thoroughly utilized mistake proofing in the past, then I strongly recommend you add some of these books to your library.

Do you have a question or comment about a book(s) that you would like addressed in Book Talk? Email me directly at Ralph.bernstein@taylorandfrancis.com.