Making the Right Thing Easy
Error proofing or jidoka (the Japanese term) is a concept that is common in the lean world. The basic concept of error proofing is setting something up so that there is only one way to do it. This eliminates the possibility of errors.
This concept is typically thought of as a manufacturing concept only. It isn’t though. It can be translated to the data world like an electronic form that will not submit unless certain fields are filled in.
The underlying thought with error proofing is to make the right thing easy to do and the wrong thing impossible to do. This is something I learned from Jamie Flinchbaugh.
Below is a picture of what I think is a good example of this thinking. This is outside a shop in an indoor mall.
Keeping the store clean and easy to shop is the goal. I have seen too many stores that ask patrons to not bring in food or drinks but that’s all there is. This store has placed a table underneath the sign making it easier for the customer to do the right thing and leave their food and drink outside of the store. The solution is simple and easy to understand.
Can someone not follow the instructions? Yes. But there are fewer excuses for people not to do what is preferred.
So the next time someone doesn’t follow what you want them to do, ask yourself how can I make the right thing easy to want to do and the wrong behavior impossible to do.