Jidoka or Autonomation

This is a central component of The Toyota Production System. The origins of autonomation or Jidoka as it is called in Japanese can be traced to the founder of Toyota, Sakichi Toyoda (1867 - 1930). He developed the Toyoda power loom, the world`s first automatic loom with a non-stop shuttle change motion and automatic stopping device.

Having machines do the job of an operator. Develop automation into autonomation - that is, automation with a human element.

Dig a little deeper into Toyota History and the origins of autonomation, Click here.

Objective: create better products at a lower cost.

  • Quality is built into the production process. Machines stop when abnormalities occur. As an added benefit, the cause of a problem can be easily located or identified. We can therefore prevent the reoccurrence of the problem.

  • Manpower savings Releases the worker from having to monitor the machine so he can be assigned to other duties.

Clarify the jobs and separate jobs for humans from jobs for machines.

Jobs that require a combination of a human and a machine is very complicated in practice. By including human functions into the machine operation, the jobs for humans and machines can be separated. If it creates workforce savings, it is worth the investment.

Mechanization must be developed to the level where the human element is integrated.

Adding a human element (or autonomation) means the machines have the ability to stop production if an abnormality or problem occurs. This judgement function has to be included. This is autonomation.

Jidoka`s Basic Rules

1. Stop the line (or design the line so it will stop in the event of a malfunction).

2. Make it easy to detect malfunctions.

3. Separate work to be done by humans from work to be done by machines.

Autonomation vs. Automation


1. If a malfunction occurs, the machine shall detect the malfunction and stop itself.
2. No defective parts will be produced. Breakdowns of machines, molds and/or jigs can be prevented.
3. Easy to locate the cause of any malfunction and implement measures to prevent recurrence.


1. If a malfunction occurs, the machine will continue operating until someone turns off a switch.
2. If defects occur, detection of these defects will be delayed, possible breakdown of machines, molds, and/or jigs may result.
3. Difficult to locate the cause of malfunctions at an early stage and difficult to implement measures to prevent recurrence.

Return from Jidoka to The Toyota Production System.