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Mar 17, 2010

What is Mistake Proofing?

Mistake proofing (Error Proofing) is about preventing mistakes from production or wasting staff time. Mistakes may still happen, but when using error proofing the chances of them occurring is greatly reduced.
Although the ultimate aim of mistake proofing is to get rid of mistakes, the secondary aim is to manage mistakes when they happen, before they can affect productivity and efficiency!

Mistake proofing needs to become the predominant culture within the organisation, with everyone recognising that mistakes cost a lot of money in terms of the labour time lost in putting things right.

Get Back To Basics
In order to mistake proof, it is necessary to look at why mistakes happen and then what can be done to eliminate them.

Mistake Proofing By Design
Mistake proofing can be done by design; designing the workstation differently, designing the machinery differently and so on. So it is about ensuring that they have the correctly designed equipment to work productively.

Mistake Proofing By Business Processes
For all personnel to be effective at mistake proofing, they have to understand how they fit in to all the business processes. Only when they understand exactly what needs to be done, how it is to be done and why it is being done, can they be effective in ensuring that they get it right first time.

Mistake Proofing Benefits
Mistake proofing ensures that a number of processes can be substantially reduced in terms of time. For a start, the eradication of mistakes means that there are fewer defective goods created. This means that goods do not have to be inspected as often.

This is important because not only is inspection time reduced, but there are no hold ups in terms of production; the production line simply flows, which makes good economic sense.

Operators are able to operate more efficiently because they do not have to inspect their work as often.

Much less time is spent rectifying defective goods and rejects or scrapped items are few and far between, resulting in less wastage, which in turn increases profits.

Since staff are all aware of the businesses processes involved in their particular area of activities, then they are familiar with what they are doing and they also understand the processes. This means that when mistakes do happen, decision time as to how they can be rectified, before they cause a problem, can be reduced. In turn this creates less disruption to production.

In fact the benefits of mistake proofing are so great that some companies estimate that having undergone a ‘mistake proofing’ exercise, their productivity can rise as much as 50%, which is actually a substantial increase and can seriously increase the profit levels of any company. So mistake proofing offers a compelling economic argument for its implementation!