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  1. #1
    GB1 is offline
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    Feb 2004
    San Diego CA

    Lightbulb A Short Story for You Engineers

    A toothpaste factory had a problem: they sometimes shipped empty
    boxes, without the tube inside. This was due to the way the production line
    was set up, and people with experience in designing production lines will
    tell you how difficult it is to have everything happen with timings so
    precise that every single unit coming out of it is perfect 100% of the time.
    Small variations in the environment (which can't be controlled in a
    cost-effective fashion) mean you must have quality assurance checks smartly
    distributed across the line so that customers all the way down to the
    supermarket don't get pissed off and buy another product instead.

    Understanding how important that was, the CEO of the toothpaste
    factory got the top people in the company together and they decided to start
    a new project, in which they would hire an external engineering company to
    solve their empty boxes problem, as their engineering department was already
    too stretched to take on any extra effort.

    The project followed the usual process: budget and project sponsor
    allocated, RFP, third-parties selected, and six months (and $8 million)
    later they had a fantastic solution - on time, on budget, high quality and
    everyone in the project had a great time. They solved the problem by using
    high-tech precision scales that would sound a bell and flash lights whenever
    a toothpaste box would weigh less than it should. The line would stop, and
    someone had to walk over and yank the defective box out of it, pressing
    another button when done to re-start the line.

    A while later, the CEO decides to have a look at the ROI of the
    project: amazing results! No empty boxes ever shipped out of the factory
    after the scales were put in place. Very few customer complaints, and they
    were gaining market share. "That's some money well spent!" - he says, before
    looking closely at the other statistics in the report.

    It turns out, the number of defects picked up by the scales was 0
    after three weeks of production use. It should've been picking up at least a
    dozen a day, so maybe there was something wrong with the report. He pulled
    together an engineering team and after some investigation, the engineers
    come back saying the report was actually correct. The scales really weren't
    picking up any defects, because all boxes that got to that point in the
    conveyor belt were good.

    Puzzled, the CEO travels down to the factory, and walks up to the
    part of the line where the precision scales were installed.
    A few feet before the scale, there was a $20 desk fan, blowing the
    empty boxes out of the belt and into a bin.
    "Oh, that," says one of the workers - "one of the guys put it there
    'cause he was tired of walking over every time the bell rang".
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  2. #2
    Spamminator Grandpaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Mississippi Gulf Coast, USA

    Re: A Short Story for You Engineers

    I really like this one can believe it just might have actually happened, Jeff
    Check out my website Here
    My Nikon D7000 Tips thread is HERE

    All images posted by me anywhere are Copyrighted by Federal Law and may not be copied or used in ANY FORM without my personal written permission. Jeff Impey
    "I decided years ago I was only going to have two types of days... Very Good Days or just Plain Good Days I just refuse to have Bad Ones!!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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