During one of my management classes my professor was giving a lecture on several
management techniques and case studies…
One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management was the case of
the empty soap box, which happened in one of Japan’s biggest cosmetics companies.
The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soap box 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 soap box went through the assembly line empty. Management asked its
engineers to solve the problem.
The engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with high-resolution monitors
manned by two people to watch all the soap boxes that passed through the line to make
sure they were not empty. No doubt, they worked hard and they worked fast but they
spent 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 soap box passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.
Moral of the story:–
” Keep It Short & Simple” ( KISS ) i.e. always look for simple solutions. Devise
the simplest possible solution that solves the problem. So, learn to focus on solutions not