The Power of Simple Solutions

Simple Solutions - Thinking outside the boxSimple Solutions – Sometimes The Obvious Is Not So Obvious

My mail-box is a treasure-house of inspiring stories, all shared by good friends, and saved carefully by me over the years. On such gem is shared below, which highlights not only the power of simplicity and simple solutions, but also the need to think outside the box. Perhaps our approach to problems is wrong and perhaps we tend to over-estimate the problem.

One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management was the case of the empty soapbox, which happened in one of Japan’s biggest cosmetics companies. The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soapbox 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 soapbox 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 soapboxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty. No doubt, they worked hard and they worked fast but they spent a whoopee amount to do so.

But when a rank-and-file employee in a small company was posed with the same problem, he 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 soapbox passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.

 Moral: Always look for simple solutions.

 Focus on solutions (Vital X) & not on problems (Ys) . So at the end of the day the thing that really matters is HOW ONE LOOKED INTO THE PROBLEM.

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