Make Doing the Wrong Thing Hard … Another Example

I posted on this topic last year for the first time. I found another great example recently. But first a reminder. To help prevent errors, a construct translated as “make doing  the wrong thing hard” has been around informally for many decades. It was formalized as part of the Toyota Production System by Shigeo Shingo and called poka-yoke in Japanese. This replaced the original name, baka-yoke, which translates as “idiot proofing.”

Many Lean Thinking professionals teach and incorporate this construct into processes. It was originally implemented in production systems. You see it in situations where two hands are required to run a machine, even though one would clearly be enough. By making the operator use two hands one can be sure that neither hand will be cut off by the machine.

I have been in several fast food restaurants where they serve your meal in a basket that they do not want you to throw out. Sometimes they have signs to remind you, but mostly they fish a lot of baskets out of the trash each day. Waste and not a fun job.

I was recently in Glendale, AZ and before doing a workshop for the Coyotes, I stopped for lunch at Shane’s. They serve your meal on a plate/basket they do not want you to throw out so they make doing the wrong thing hard as you can see from the picture. Basically the trash chute hole was smaller than the size of the plate/basket. Pretty clever, very effective and a great example of making doing the wrong thing hard.


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