A poka-yoke is a Japanese term for a fail-safe device (page 233). Ever since I came across this concept, I have wandered the world noticing how processes incorporate them into their processes. And never were they more needed than last night at the Oscar ceremony!
It seems that the wrong film was announced as winner of the Best Film category because Beatty and Dunaway were handed the wrong envelope. And the reason this occurred was because there are two envelopes for every category – one for each side of the stage, and hence two people handing out envelopes. From a process design perspective this in itself is not a good idea – much better to have one person and one set of envelopes. However if ann0uncers may appear from either side of the stage so that two sets are needed, then how can poka-yokes be introduced to ensure that the process is as error free as possible?
First, it appears that the card inside the envelope simply has the name of the winner. Poka-Yoke 1 would be to state clearly the category as well as the winner, so that the announcer is sure they have the right card. It also seems that the envelopes are not clearly marked with name of the category. Poka-Yoke 2 would be to ensure that the category is printed on the outside of the envelope.
And how simple would it be to do these two things. I especially love no- or low-cost poke-yoke….