I happened to come across this story in social media, shared primarily as a joke pulled on sophisticated Japan, but to me it meant bit more than the laughable content.
In Japan, in a soap manufacturing company the soap blocks were made, then wrapped in attractive wrapping paper automatically on an assembly conveyer belt and finally packed in cartons…
Many a times it happened that the wrapping machine wrapped the paper without soap, ie., you had an empty packet without soap. There were complaints from retailers, which meant risk of losing company’s credibility. To rectify this problem the Japanese company bought a highly sophisticated X-ray scanner from the US which cost a whopping $60,000 to check on the assembly line whether the container contained soap and wasn’t empty.
A similar problem occurred at a soap manufacturing company in India. Guess what they did? One of the ordinary workmen got a simple idea. He brought a blower fan, which cost mere Rs.1,500 and placed it on the edge of the assembly line. The empty wrappers without soaps just blew away!!!
I have seen in my professional life that the more qualified someone is, the more complicated they tend to think. I have also seen very ordinary workmen come up with simple and practical ideas.
Hence, in V-guard and Wonderla we have adopted a system called ‘Quality Circle’. It is a platform for groups of workers to suggest practical ideas in their respective areas of work to solve small problems that crop up during the production process. The good ideas are appreciated and duly rewarded. The amazing thing is, some of the tips that came up from ordinary persons are those even qualified engineers wouldn’t think of.
As it is said, ‘Don’t underestimate the power of common man’. Great ideas can come from anyone, because everyone thinks differently. Often simple solutions come from ordinary people who think in simple ways. History has thousands of incidents where a very simple solution solved very complex problems. When we try to solve the root of the problem, the solution always comes out to be simple. The more complex we become, our thoughts too tend to become complex, and vice versa.