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Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Empty Soap Box : Interesting to Read (May be even apply)


One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management was the  case
of the  empty  soap  box,  which  happened  in  one  of  Japan's  biggest
cosmetics companies.  The  company  received  a complaint that a consumer
had bought a soap box that was empty.
Immediately the authorities isolated the problem to the assembly line,
which  transported all  the  packaged  boxes  of  soap  to  the  delivery
department.  For  some  reason,  one soap  box  went  through  the assembly
line empty.
Management  asked  its  engineers  to  solve  the  problem.  Post-haste,
the  engineers worked  hard  to  devise  an  X-ray  machine  with  high-
resolution  monitors  manned  by two  people  to  watch  all  the  soap
boxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty.
No  doubt,  they  worked  hard  and  they  worked  fast  but  they  spent
whoopee amount to do so. But when a workman was posed with the same
problem, did not get into complications  of  X-rays,  etc  but  instead
came  out  with  another solution.
He  bought  a  strong  industrial  electric  fan  and  pointed  it  at  the
assembly line. He switched the fan on, and as each soap box passed the fan,
it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.
Moral of the story: Always look for simple solutions. Devise the simplest
possible solution that solves the problem. So, learn to focus on solutions
not on problems. "If you look at what you do not have in life, you don't
have anything; if you look at what you have in life, you have everything.

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