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Newsletter Issue 22 : Feb 1, 2009- Feb 28, 2009

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Use your Creativity

There was once a large soap factories of a very popular brand among the Japanese where everyday millions of soap cakes came out of the factory

One day the company received an unusual customer complaint. The customer had bought their soap at the local super market. When he went home he found that the soap box was empty. The company sent him a soap along with a letter of apology. Then it went deep into the problem.

‘How come empty boxes go out of the factory?'

The engineers reviewed the manufacturing and packing process. In a huge conveyor thousands of soap boxes were coming out. In another conveyor perfectly synchronized to the first, the soap cakes were coming out. At the crucial point, a machine lifted the cake, put it into a box and sealed it. The machinery did an excellent job. But about one in ten thousand cases it let go a box without the soap cake in it. The engineers found out that it may take a lot of money to correct this minor lapse. Now their objective was to identify the black sheep - in this case the box without the soap - and eliminate it from the production line.

The company was doing very well. And there were many brilliant  engineers in it. So
 they brainstormed the problem and came out with a fail-proof solution. They installed a huge X-ray machine which was connected to two large computer screens. Two skilled workers were appointed to constantly monitor the movement of the soap boxes. As soon as they found out the empty box they would throw that out of the assembly line.

This arrangement cost several lakhs of Rupees but ensured that no empty box reached the customer. A function was organized to congratulate the engineering team. The engineers made a presentation to the shop-floor workers about the working of the monitoring system. After about an hour of technical explanation the Chief Engineer sat down in his seat exhausted.

 

A worker raised his hand and was asked to speak.
"Sir we could have solved the problem in a much simpler, cheap way."
"Really? Can you explain?"

"Sure. We can install a powerful blower, a huge fan, near the conveyor which carries the packed boxes. The air coming from the fan will simply blow away the empty boxes leaving the other boxes undisturbed. There would be no need for an X-ray equipment, two computers and to cap it all, constant monitoring by two skilled workers."

Now that's creative thinking. We should work hard; but also think smart

Think about it now – maybe you could come out with a cheaper solution if you decided to use your creativity!