What is Andon?

Andon is an easy-to-use visual management system that allows operators and managers to quickly determine the status of the production line. The term “Andon” is derived from the Japanese word “paper lantern”, but the more accurate English translation would be “sign” or a “signal”. It was developed based on Jidoka, the Jidoka method of the Toyota Production System. The system is activated by pulling the cable to indicate problems or requests for assistance, changing Andon’s color, and reflecting any updates on the board. The system is designed to alert users in real-time about problems so that solutions can be implemented instantly. This reduces downtime and saves costs.

Andon System: What is it?

Andon brings the solution to the production area. Previously, workers would leave their jobs to find solutions. This system has been tested and proven to be a great way to streamline your workflow. Andon is a system that uses a network of three main components: cords, lights, and boards. Here’s what they are and how they work:

1. Andon Cord

The Andon cable, cord, or rope is typically above the assembly line workers. It is a signal that an operator in production needs assistance because of a problem. In some cases, the cord appears as a switch or button. Its purpose is the same, to alert others about a problem that has been noticed.

2. Andon Light

Pulling the cord or pressing a button will also activate the Andon lights of the specific equipment or production lines. The color change helps emergency responders identify the area where they need help. Other types of light systems may include additional colors, such as white and blue, but a simple system only displays three colors: red, green, or yellow.

  • Green indicates that production is running normally or smoothly. Continue with your work as usual.
  • Amber or Yellow indicates that a problem is present. Help the operator to fix it or conduct product quality checks.
  • The red indicates that production has stopped. Investigate with your team leader, or contact the managers to fix the problem before you continue production.

3. Andon Board

The status of each production line is automatically updated on the Andon Board. This is the only source that can accurately reflect current manufacturing conditions. The system allows supervisors and workers to see at a glance the production targets, real numbers, and downtime totals if there are any. This promotes a culture of accountability and transparency.