The Soap Factory Problem- A Funny Example of Process Improvement

We all have somewhere or the other heard this funny story of the Soap Factory

Here it is:

There was once a Soap Factory.

The owner was faced with a peculiar problem. Customers were receiving empty soap boxes.

The machine would sometimes leave some boxes unfilled, and that was just the way things were. The factory owner got thinking! He called the consultants to solve the problem.

After diagnosing the problem the solution was developed. An advanced laser system that would detect the unfilled boxes which can then be removed before packing.

The solution was very expensive and would stop the conveyor many times, hampering production.Worried the factory owner asked the person who worked on the pre-packing process for some ideas.

The worker had an idea!

His solution was an inexpensive industrial fan! That would blow away the lighter empty boxes from the conveyor. That would not stop the conveyor plus, it was easy to maintain and a really affordable solution.

This story I found, was so funny because it mocks the over-complicated approach to process improvement which the organizations today resorts to.

I keep pondering - there has to be a more fun, more 'people' way to approach process improvement.