The Soap Boxes
A lady bought some bathing soaps from a shop. When she opened one of the packets, she found that it was empty. There was no soap in there; it was just an empty wrapper! She lodged a complaint against the manufacturer and got her claim. That being settled, there was a task before the management of the soap factory. How had this happened? How could they ensure that the incident did not occur again? They had suffered enough bad publicity besides having to pay the compensation to the lady.
After a detailed investigation, it was discovered, that during the process of wrapping, it so happened that inevitably, one or two wrappers did get through, having no bar of soap in them! There was no way to make out the difference between a full wrapper and an empty one. The process of handling each one separately for this purpose seemed to be very cumbersome. So, the technical head was given the job of devising a method to overcome the problem. The man prepared a detailed report and proposed the setting up of a computer based system that would weigh and scan each bar, for the empty packs would not get detected by a normal x-ray machine. He proposed an expenditure of a large amount to put this system into place.
The management heard him out and passed the order to release the funds and to buy the machinery that he had proposed. An uneducated worker said, “Excuse me Sir, for my impertinence, but I have a solution that shall cost a fraction of what you are planning to go in for.”
The management hesitated initially. But eventually they heard him out and agreed to try out his proposal. The next day, the worker brought a strong industrial fan. He put it at an angle near the conveyor belt on which the packed soap bars were coming through and switched it on. The few empty wrappers that came through got blown off by the fan! The rest of them went past easily.
A simple solution, for a complex problem! This goes to prove that ideas are not the monopoly of the educated. Common sense is seldom common!