Andon refers to a visual tool that helps us know the status of operations in a work area, in order to obtain an immediate response to a problem generated.
Andon works hand in hand with the JIDOKA Lean manufacturing principle, which seeks to highlight problems when they occur, in order to implement measures that prevent them from occurring again.
The concept of Jidoka is “Automatic detection of problems or defects at an early stage and proceed with the production only after resolving the problem at its root cause”. This means, that the machines and operation will stop automatically without any human intervention or supervision, once a problem is detected or a defect is found.
Andon is the Japanese word for a paper lamp, a common ornament in that country, and represents the simple analogy with this tool: a light signal that reports problems in the processes flow.
Andon, as a Lean tool, has its origin in Japan in the 1970s in the Toyota production system, where through a set of lights personnel were alerted to existing problems, whether Maintenance, Quality, Safety, Production, Logistics, etc.
In general, Andon implies a set of visual control measures to communicate to the personnel where it is necessary to intervene, so the fundamental purpose of the tool is to favor and facilitate the decision-making and participation of the staff.
In this order of ideas, Andon highlights relevant information and helps to standardize communication, which favors the empowerment and motivation of staff.
To implement Andon it is necessary to confirm:
Andon systems have different applications and their characteristics will depend on the objective to be achieved and the process in which it is located, all of them with the common characteristic of generating a reaction to an atypical situation. These can be used in manufacturing processes covering machinery and equipment, quality, production, maintenance, safety as well as in logistics processes, office areas, etc.
Some of the most used Andon systems are beacons, information boards, checklists, alarms, one-point lessons, results board, marking of job sites and factory floor, pyramid of security, etc.
Andon systems in productive areas have evolved over time, starting with beacons with sounds to expose the problems, then information boards with spotlights, later with systems that allow online monitoring using mobile devices.
When any machine has a production interruption, the operator will indicate the problem through preset buttons on the M-Box, so the supervisor is requested via a notification on mobile or portal to confirm the true cause. Subsequently, the support team will execute a precise solution to the problem.
M-Box also provides instant notifications related to waste of electricity, auxiliary equipment status, production levels, efficiency indicators, quality checks, etc. Additionally, these can also be sent to different factory managers, officers, supervisors as configured.
Finally, M-Box executes real-time monitoring of production processes and makes the use of Andon systems a reality, which will allows to maintain the well-being of any factory.