What is Andon (Visual Feedback System)?
Andon is a visual feedback system for the plant floor that indicates production status, alerts when assistance is needed, and empowers operators to stop the production process.
In traditional companies the chain of command comes from the top and goes straight down. ‘Thou salt do as I say’
Andon is a Lean technique that empowers the operator to highlight abnormalities in the process and obtain support to continue to plan. This system will form an important business measure of the health of a production line. By highlighting the concern in a timely fashion it maximizes the chance of solving the problem before it effects productivity. Andon is an information tool which provides instant, visible and audible warning to the Operations team that there is a abnormality within that area.
Andon is an information tool which provides instant, visible and audible warning to the Operations team that there is a abnormality within that area.
Different Forms of Andon System:
Andon systems come in all shapes and sizes, dependent on the requirement.
Simplest form: Airport security check’ Petrol gauge indicator, low battery indictor on mobile
Standard lineside system: Lollipop system (RED/AMBER/GREEN)
More complex: Andon board
Some Andon systems can highlight every type of abnormality and where it originated, while others just draw your attention to a concern
The system your choice is dependent of budget and complexity of the workplace.
An Andon can take many different forms from simple indicator to complex control boards. All of them give ‘real time’ status of the performance of the given area
What does Andon System do?
- Highlight Concerns / Abnormalities
- Provide information to allow the management of concerns.
- Andon allows timely corrective actions by alerting personnel when abnormal conditions occur.
- Allows Shop floor T/L’s to spend less time and effort monitoring the situation, and more time solving abnormalities.
- Allows Operation teams to monitor equipment and personnel more effectively.
- It can act as a 2 way communication devicee.g. When indicator returns to green; this tells everybody it’s ‘back to normal’
Without a robust Escalation procedure and corrective action process, it is worthless
What Andon System don’t do?
- Solve Abnormalities
- Prevent all defects from being passed forward
- Replace good verbal communication between work group
- Remove the need for rectification or Customer protection
- It doesn't solve anything
Make sure that by putting an Andon system in isn’t an excuse for not doing anything.
It may mean that rework has to be done or some level of containment is put in place.
Andon should not replace human interaction within the workgroup. Good communication practises are enhanced by the use of Andon
Behaviours should still include trying to solve that problem as soon as possible.The Andon doesn’t solve it, it just highlights it
As mentioned the abnormality still need to be addressed if the concern is to not effect the performance of that work area.
This is done by identifying the ‘natural workgroup’ that interfaces with that work area.
It is important than individuals are identified and are accessible to the work group. NAMES and NUMBERS (phones on the line)
Once a issue is raised then the ‘natural workgroup’ must support that request as soon as possible. If the issue isn’t eliminated in a timely fashion then the system should escalate to the next appropriate level.
By doing this the abnormality will eventually be addressed and a long term countermeasure put in place to prevent future occurrence.
EG Relating to the Airport security example, if nothing happened when the alarm went off, it would be worthless.
Features of Andon system:
- Visible/Audible - Can be seen and/or heard by entire workgroup and workgroup leader
- Concise/Understandable - Primary three conditions (OK, Abnormality, Process stop)
- Timely/Responsive - Real-time data
- Pertinent - Only shows status of workstations in a particular area
- Complete - Provides a complete picture of the overall status of the entire area to enable prioritisation and coordination of corrective efforts
Types of Andon System:
The 2 main types of Andon are activated manually by the operator/ Team leader by either:
i) pressing static button
ii) pulling a cord
It can be used to highlight either production or maintenance concerns.
Types of Andon Trigger:
Operator pushes button or pulls a cord
- Material call example
- Quality check, change over, etc.
A limit switch on a conveyor or on a chute monitoring movement of parts
- Limit switch may monitor time and count the number of parts passing through. (takt time)
- Andon can be activated by an error proofing device
- Separate the man from the machine, freeing up the operator to add value else where (Machine shop)
To ensure you are getting the most out of your Andon system, it is important to follow the following guidelines:
- What do you want to control?
- What type of system, is appropriate for your workplace?
- Make sure everybody can identify where the area being monitored starts and finishes.
- Make sure that the escalation process is in place before you start using Andon System.
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