Eye on Ethics: Managing Ethics Emergencies - Pulling the Andon Cord

Document Type


Department (Manual Entry)

School of Social Work


In the manufacturing industry, there is a well-known phenomenon known as "pulling the Andon cord." The term "andon" comes from an old Japanese word for paper lantern. This traditional Japanese lantern was very popular during the Edo period, from the 17th to the 19th centuries.

An Andon system is one of the principal elements of the Jidoka quality-control method pioneered by the Toyota Corporation. It gives automobile manufacturing workers the ability, permission, and encouragement to stop production when a defect is found, and immediately call for assistance. Common reasons for manual activation of the Andon are a part shortage, a manufacturing defect, tool malfunction, or the existence of a safety problem. Work is stopped until a solution has been found.