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Impact of a poka-yoke device on job performance of individuals with cognitive impairments

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3 Author(s)
Erlandson, R.F. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Wayne State Univ., Detroit, MI, USA ; Noblett, M.J. ; Phelps, J.A.

Job performance and production related issues are important not only to successful vocational training and ultimate job placement for individuals with cognitive disabilities, but also for their ability to have expanded vocational options. This study hypothesized that the application of Kaizen philosophy, and poka-yoke techniques in particular, could create job opportunities and improve productivity of individuals with cognitive disabilities. Poka-yoke or error-proofing techniques are part of the collection of Kaizen techniques. Kaizen refers to continuous improvement in performance, cost/effectiveness, and quality. Kaizen strives to empower the worker, increase worker satisfaction, facilitate a sense of accomplishment, and thereby create pride-of-work. These techniques typically reduce the physical and cognitive demands of a task and thereby render the task more accessible. The job was a fuel clamp assembly. A redesigned assembly fixture was the poka-yoke intervention. Consistent with poka-yoke principles, the intervention improved the productivity of everyone attempting the assembly. In particular, the workers in this study showed an 80% increase in productivity and an average percent error drop from 52% to about 1% after the process redesign. Furthermore, the workers showed improved morale, self-esteem, and pride-of-work. Prior to the process redesign, only the higher functioning workers could successfully perform the assembly. After the redesign a greater number of workers could successfully perform the assembly. These results not only validated the study hypothesis, but demonstrated that the success facilitated by applying Kaizen techniques had similar results with individuals with cognitive disabilities as with nondisabled workers

Published in:

Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 3 )