5S, Poka-Yoke and Visual Controls

I recently attended a 5S audit that takes a much more holistic approach, namely it includes the 7 wastes, TPM wastes, mistake proofing, etc. Upon my return back to the office, I encountered a problem in my own genba. When traveling, I frequently run out of juice for my laptop. It takes me awhile to figure it out, but it is because I plug my chargers in backwards and don't realize it. I think the pictures tell the story:

Here is the receptacle. Notice the small key on the right side of the oval.

Here is the plug. Notice the keyway on the side of the plug.

The designers made a good attempt at mistake proofing this plug, but the key is really small and the material is fairly pliable under force. The result is that you CAN plug it in backwards and not realize you have done it wrong. You won't get power, but it looks correct. A blue light comes on, but not always if the power receptacle in the wall doesn't provide power, which surprisingly happens frequently in hotels and offices. (Breakers turned off for maintenance, or in need of repair for example.) So whether if wrong or right, a lack of blue light doesn't guarantee I've done my part correctly.

I need a visual control to tell me if the standard is met, in order to avoid mistakes or failure. Here is my visual control for this standard:



At July 25, 2008 at 12:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it possible to get a copy or see an example of the 5S audit you described that included the 7 wastes, mistake proofing, etc.?

At July 25, 2008 at 4:07 PM , Blogger Mark Graban said...

That's a great example. I also blogged about a similar connection issue today (coincidence).


I had that same iGo power adapter. I don't remember ever being able to insert mine backward. I guess I'm not that strong ;-)

At July 25, 2008 at 5:35 PM , Blogger Unknown said...


I can't send the audit forms out as they are proprietary and not mine. Sorry. I plan on posting soon though on what I learn, as the focus is WAY beyond simply housekeeping. In a nut shell though, it is how to use 5S to get people involved and a vehicle for teaching lean.

At February 3, 2011 at 9:15 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like what you've done as continuous improvement. Different product, same problem: even though I can't plug in a flash drive backwards, I can't tell you how many times I've tried the WRONG way first, and had to switch it around to make it work. So why not use your system to help me do it right the FIRST time? Good thinking!

At June 16, 2011 at 9:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


I read this post two times.

I like it so much, please try to keep posting.

Let me introduce other material that may be good for our community.

Source: 5S audit form

Best regards

At August 22, 2016 at 2:05 AM , Blogger navya said...

I have read your blog its very attractive and impressive. I like it your blog.
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