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How should we deal with mistakes in the manufacturing industry? Explaining the causes and countermeasures

Mistake is a phenomenon in which unexpected mistakes are made due to human error, which sometimes leads to product defects and causes complaints. In the manufacturing industry , there are many tasks that require the intervention of humans and machines, such as machine operation and visual inspection, and efforts to prevent mistakes are essential. This time, we will learn about the reasons why careless mistakes occur and consider countermeasures.

table of contents

  1. Causes of careless mistakes
  2. Factory of the Future Issues facing manufacturing sites. The key to the solution is “digitization.”
  3. Mistakes caused by humans (human error)
  4. Mistakes due to work environment and equipment
  5. Factory of the Future Issues facing manufacturing sites. The key to the solution is “digitization.”
  6. Measures against careless mistakes
  7. First, let’s figure out the cause
  8. Clarify work status
  9. Make it known and thorough
  10. summary

Causes of careless mistakes

The term “poka miss”, which is often used in manufacturing sites, is derived from “poka”, which in the world of Go and shogi means “to make an unexpected bad move.” The term is generally defined as an unexpected failure caused by carelessness. In the manufacturing industry, mistakes can lead to problems such as decreased work efficiency, the production of defective products, machine breakdowns, and accidents.

There are various factors that can cause a mistake to occur, and while it may be simply a careless mistake, there are also cases in the manufacturing industry where operating machinery and work procedures are structured to easily induce mistakes. Here, we will explain the causes of careless mistakes, dividing them into those caused by people and those caused by the work environment and equipment.

Mistakes caused by humans (human error)

The most common pattern of carelessness is human error, which is caused by human factors such as carelessness or misunderstanding. This mistake can occur in a variety of ways, including carelessness, forgetfulness, oversight, and misunderstanding. Examples include “I looked at the wrong button on the machine,” “I skipped a step,” and “I received instructions but forgot.”

There are various problems that occur due to human error in the manufacturing industry. For example, materials that should have been removed are mixed in, incorrectly assembled parts are assembled in a different way than originally intended, unprocessed parts are left unprocessed, and insufficient quantities are delivered. This includes items that are out of stock.

The background to this may be deeply related to the skills and mental aspects of the workers. At manufacturing sites, work must be carried out in accordance with certain work rules, such as work manuals and safety confirmation procedures. However, if workers are not familiar with it, they may not be able to check it carefully and may skip steps. Also, depending on the site, there may be work procedures that are not included in the manual, and beginners may skip such work. Regarding the mental aspect, the individual’s awareness and psychological state are important factors. Each individual has a different approach to work, and their attentiveness varies. Furthermore, we cannot exclude the possibility that the quality of work is affected by mental and physical conditions such as fatigue and tension.

Mistakes due to work environment and equipment

Another cause of careless mistakes is a pattern in which mistakes are induced by the work environment or poor equipment. For example, if tools and parts are scattered around the workplace, or if parts are not labeled, it will be difficult to work smoothly, leading to confusion for workers. Particularly in manufacturing sites where a wide variety of instruments, machinery, and parts need to be handled, making the work environment as simple as possible is key to reducing errors. On the other hand, if work procedures are complex or quality standards are unclear, it can lead to mistakes.

Work environments that tend to cause mistakes in the manufacturing industry include layout, display, and level. For example, if different tools are used for each procedure, it is appropriate to arrange the tools according to the procedure, but if multiple tools are mixed, it will be confusing. When handling similar parts, if the parts are not labeled and workers are required to identify the parts each time, mix-ups can occur. If the level of difficulty varies depending on the task, it must be determined whether the worker in charge of the task has reached the required skill level in the first place.

Mechanical equipment can also introduce mistakes. For example, if two switches with opposite roles, “activate” and “stop”, have exactly the same color and shape, there is a possibility that a worker will operate the switch incorrectly. Alternatively, older equipment with complicated operation methods may be difficult to get used to, and may lead to mistakes.

Requests are diverse, such as “more speed,” “lower cost,” “higher quality,” and “eco-friendliness.” However, updating equipment costs a huge amount of money, and there is a serious labor shortage, making it difficult to increase staff. The key to the solution is “digitalization of factories.” IoT, which constantly collects data from every part of the production line, enables process control and efficiency improvements that would be impossible with human power.

Measures against careless mistakes

In order to prevent mistakes at manufacturing sites, it is important to thoroughly investigate the cause, formulate countermeasures, and thoroughly disseminate information to the site. Here we will introduce three steps to prevent blurred mistakes.

First, let’s figure out the cause

First, let’s thoroughly clarify the cause of the careless mistake. Clarifying the cause will help you create appropriate countermeasures and prevent similar mistakes from happening again.

When analyzing the causes of mistakes, there is a tendency to focus only on human errors such as careless mistakes by workers or operational errors, and since they are easy to spot and pursue, it is easy to take countermeasures. Therefore, when mistakes occur, there are cases where they are easily dismissed as human error.

However, a proper working environment is also required for successful work. As mentioned earlier, problems with the work environment and equipment may be behind the frequent occurrence of careless mistakes. It is difficult to notice improvements in aspects of the work environment, such as potential flaws in work procedures and complex mechanical designs, because we usually take them for granted, and it is not easy to change them. Therefore, even if you exclude cases where it is obvious that the worker made a mistake or was negligent, it is important to always think about the causes of the occurrence and whether there are any environmental factors that could easily cause the mistake.

Clarify work status

It is also important to clarify work procedures and methods.

Various rules have been established for the manufacturing process, including work manuals, safety confirmation procedures, and quality inspection standards. However, as you work, you may find yourself drifting towards an easier method, and there may be a discrepancy between the manual and the actual method. Furthermore, in the case of complex and advanced work, there are some parts that cannot be conveyed through manuals alone, and there are cases where tacit knowledge such as the craftsman’s sense and experience remains.

Also, when creating a new manufacturing process, it is important to describe the work method as clearly and specifically as possible. If a work manual exists and workers work faithfully to it, but mistakes cannot be eradicated, there are cases where the manual is difficult to understand or contains misleading expressions. This should not only be difficult for workers to understand, but also lead to mistakes, so it should be corrected immediately. By clarifying the manufacturing process in a way that is easy for workers to understand, the causes of careless mistakes can be reduced.

Make it known and thorough

In order to prevent careless mistakes, it is essential to ensure that everyone is aware of the work and that work methods are thoroughly followed.

Our working methods are updated daily. There are various cases in which work methods change, such as when a worker discovers a smoother and more efficient way to perform a task, or when a worker improves a work procedure to prevent a mistake from happening again. Not only when the work is drastically changed due to the introduction of new equipment, but also when there are minor changes like this, it is necessary to actively inform all the workers at the site. there is.

It is also important to thoroughly follow work methods. Even if work procedures are established with the aim of preventing careless mistakes, it is meaningless if workers do not follow them. Workers are busy with day-to-day field work and tend to prioritize familiar methods over new methods. Thoroughly manage work content by having managers and superiors check on-site work.


Mistakes occur due to various causes such as human error and the work environment. Therefore, when analyzing careless mistakes, do not simply dismiss them as human errors, but also check work conditions and equipment to create a system that prevents mistakes from occurring.


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