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Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest

Six Sigma

QualiPedia: Andon

Alerting the team when trouble arises

Published: Monday, March 22, 2010 - 19:13

In the manufacturing industry, an andon is a status display device used to alert the work team—by sound or visually—that assistance is needed immediately, or to identify where they need to concentrate their efforts. An andon device allows an operator to ask for help and it provides information.

With modern andon systems, the supervisors and the assembly-line team are alerted by devices such as electronic boards with colored lights, text, graphics, alarms, music, or prerecorded messages that can specify the current condition and the required action to rectify the situation.      

Andons can be activated manually when there’s trouble on the assembly line (e.g., Lucy stuffing truffles in her mouth) or automatically when machines detect defective parts or stock outages and immediately stop.  

Andons are employed in lean projects and help to reduce rework and waste; and keeping logs of andon alerts contribute to continuous improvement programs. However, andons are foremost the principle tool of a jidoka system where the alert halts the assembly line so that the situation can be assessed and the line remains stopped until a solution is found. 





The Toyota Way, by Jeffrey Liker (McGraw-Hill, 2003)



About The Author

Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest’s picture

Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest

Laurel Thoennes is an editor at Quality Digest. She has worked in the media industry for 33 years at newspapers, magazines, and UC Davis—the past 25 years with Quality Digest.