A man walked in on me while I was on the toilet…

January is my least favourite month.  Here in the UK it is rare to see the sun, even today as I write this, it has just stayed a dull and dreary grey.  However January is when we start back teaching for March exams, and in this series, I am teaching the L5M9 Operations Management Module from the CIPS Level 5 Advanced Diploma.

It’s a module students either love or hate, however, I am quite fond of this module as I love to talk about Poka Yoke (fail-safe) techniques as part of my CIPS training.  In fact every year it reminds me of how a lack of Poke Yoke created one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life, and yes I am about to share that with you now.

Around four years I was on a train heading south, and this was an older train without all the bells and whistles of some of the newer models.  At some point in the journey, I realised I needed to go to the toilet and made my way there fighting against crowds of people standing in the aisles (the great British train system strikes again!).  The door was one of the slow opens/closes without a lock on the actual door, but a lock button on the wall.  I sat down and will spare you details of what I was doing, but then all of a sudden the door started to open.

I stared at it in horror, unable to move off the toilet I think I just shouted no and froze.  The guy who had opened the door locked eyes with me, a matching look of horror on his face.  I somewhat unnecessarily stated, “I’m on the toilet!” and he squeaked “Sorry!” at me before pressing the close button again.

As I stated earlier, this was a slow opening and closing door.  The closing of this door took probably only 5 seconds but it felt like five minutes.  With my trousers around my ankles as the door slowly closed all I could see was a sea of people who had no seat and were standing in the vestibule area. They were all looking directly at me.  I think one even grinned and waved, but this could be my horrific imagination trying to embarrass me further.  After all that humiliation, I then had to walk past the crowd to get back to my seat.  Everyone was excruciatingly silent.  I guess I should be lucky I didn’t receive a slow clap!

So why am I telling you this? Well, this directly relates to your CIPS Level 5 modules.  Poka Yoke is a Japanese term that means “mistake-proofing”, it is meant to make it impossible for a process to fail or make a mistake.  In the newer train models, they have a very well-spoken woman stating please lock the door behind you.  This would have reminded me to lock the door, sparing the train passengers from being accidental voyeurs.  Without this, I forgot, and you know the outcome.

Other examples of Poka Yoke you may be familiar with are things such as car sensors which pull you back into your lane if you feel you are starting to drift or washing machines that only start when the door is closed and cannot be opened until the cycle is over. 

See who said Operations Management is boring 😉

If you are looking to start your CIPS Level 5 Advanced Diploma training, our Diamond Package starts at the end of March 23 for the May exams.  Find more info here

Laura

Level 3 Diamond Timetable

Exam Series Module No. of sessions Dates
March 2024
M2 & M3
6
15th Jan, 29th Jan, 5th Feb, 19th Feb, 26th Feb, 4th Mar
May 2024
M4
3
15th Apr, 22nd Apr, 29th Apr
July 2024
M5
3
3rd June, 10th June, 24th June
Nov 2024
M1
3
7th Oct, 21st Oct, 4th November
Mar 2025
M2&M3
6
13th Jan, 20th Jan, 27th Jan, 10th Feb, 24th Feb, 3rd March
May 2025
M4
3
7th Apr, 14th Apr, 28th Apr
July 2025
M5
3
2nd June, 16th June, 30th June

Level 6 Diamond Timetable

Exam Series Module No. of sessions Dates
March 2024
M2 & M5
5
25th Jan, 1st Feb, 8th Feb, 22nd Feb, 29th Feb
May 2024
M4 & M7
4
18th April, 25th April, 2nd May, 9th May
July 2024
M3 & M8
5
30th May, 20th June, 27th June, 4th July, 11th July
November 2024
M1
3
10th Oct, 24th Oct, 7th Nov
Mar 2025
M2 & M5
5
30th Jan, 6th Feb, 13th Feb, 27th Feb, 6th Mar
May 2025
M4 & M7
4
3rd April, 10th April, 1st May, 8th May
July 2025
M3 & M8
5
5th June, 12th June, 19th June, 26th June, 3rd July

Level 5 Diamond Timetable

Exam Series Module No. of sessions Dates
March 2024
M5, M15 & M9
4
31st Jan, 7th Feb, 21st Feb, 28th Feb, 6th March
May 2024
M3 & M8
4
10th April, 17th April, 24th April, 1st May
July 2024
M4
3
5th June, 11th June, 26th June
November 2024
M1 & M2
5
9th Oct, 16th Oct, 23rd Oct, 30th Oct, 6th Nov
Mar 2025
M15, M5, M9
5
29th Jan, 5th Feb, 12th Feb, 26th Feb, 5th March
May 2025
M3 & M8
4
9th April, 16th April, 30th April, 7th June
July 2025
M4
3
4th June, 18th June, 2nd July

Level 4 Diamond Timetable

Exam Series Module No. of sessions Dates
March 2024
M3, M5, M7
6
23rd Jan, 30th Jan, 6th Feb, 20th Feb, 27th Feb, 5th March
May 2024
M4 & M6
4
9th April, 16th April, 23rd April, 30th April
July 2024
M8
3
4th June, 18th June, 3rd July
November 2024
M1 & M2
5
8th Oct, 15th Oct, 22nd Oct, 29th Oct, 5th Nov
March 2025
M3, M5, M7
5
29th Jan, 5th Feb, 12th Feb, 26th Feb, 5th March
May 2025
M4 & M6
4
8th April, 15th April, 29th April, 6th June
July 2025
M8
3
10th June, 24th June, 8th July