Consumer Error Proofing


I had to buy a new router for home (a different quality discussion about why my old one quit working after a year).

I noticed an error proofing (poka yoke) device on the back of the router (the orange strip over the ports). It says “Run CD First before connecting cables.” I'm not sure why this is from a technical standpoint (I didn't read the book).

So maybe that's my point exactly. If they just printed “Run CD First” in the book or even on the CD (as it was), how many tech support calls or product returns (and cost) would that add up to? The small orange strip has an easy pull tab for the customer to remove. I thought this was simple and clever. Sure the orange strip adds cost (known cost) but saves the unpredictable cost of customer errors. I bet someone at the company was opposed to the orange strips and complained that their customers are morons — the wrong attitude.

Someone would probably point out that the company (Linksys) should design the router so that it's more robust, that it wouldn't break if you connected cables before installing the CD. Or maybe it's for the sake of your computer. One thing they could do that would seem “Toyota-like” would be to explain “why” right on the label. Posted by Picasa

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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