Updated: Apr 12
A toothpaste factory had a problem: there were empty boxes that were shipped without the tube inside. There were complaints coming in from customers, and the CEO wanted to fix this. The management found the problematic production line and began to brainstorm.
After some discussion, they decided to hire an external company to solve this problem.
The solution developed used high-tech precision scales that would weigh the toothpaste boxes that passed over it. If the box weighed less than it should, the line would be halted, and someone would remove the defective box, before pressing another button to restart the production line.
Some time later, the CEO noted that there were no more empty boxes being shipped out. However, he also noted that the scales were not detecting any defects either. After confirming that the scales were working properly, he decided to take a look personally.
A short distance just before the toothpaste boxes passed over the precision scales, a fan was blowing across the conveyor belt. Every so often, a box would be blown off the conveyor belt into a bin strategically placed.
When he asked why the fan was there, he was told that one of the workers got tired of walking to and from the scales, so he figured that a fan would work just as well!
The point of this story is that, sometimes, when we encounter problems in our businesses, there may be a simpler and more effective way to overcome said problem.
In the same way that it is easier to move a water bed when it is empty than when it is half-full, sometimes it is worth checking to see if there is a simpler solution than trying to continue with a more complex one.
What are some of the problems you face in your business today? Can you think of any other method which might be simpler and more effective?
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