Toyota is moving away from the traditional Andon cords which have previously been a big part of the “built-in-quality” philosophy of the Toyota manufacturing process. The Andon cords have allowed workers to alert co-workers and supervisors of problems that arise on the manufacturing line so that they don’t continue down the line. Workers simply had to pull the cord to stop the line and alert others there was an issue.
But, no worries, Toyota isn’t compromising the Toyota Way. They are simply improving the process by replacing the cords with yellow call buttons that will be placed at a waist-high level and will essentially function the same way as the legendary Andon cords. The switch will create a safer, less cluttered and more efficient work environment for Toyota employees. The assembly plant in Tsutsumi has already incorporated the yellow buttons, but no announcement has been made as to when U.S. plants will begin switching over.
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