Manager’s Toolbox – Is working hard enough?

January 7, 2013

Below is a short story about innovative thinking at work.

The story goes to show that sometimes an innovative way of doing things is  much cheaper and yet more effective.

A Japanese soap manufacturing company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a box of soap that was empty. Management asked its engineers to solve the problem permanently to avoid any reoccurrence. 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 a rank and file employee who was posed the same problem came out with another solution. He bought a strong industral electric fan and pointed it at the assembly line. He switched the fan on, and as each soapbox passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line. Clearly, the engineers worked hard, but the rank and file employee worked smart.

So what’s better than merely working hard? It’s working smart. Having said that, it is still important to work hard. If you could combine both working hard and working smart, you would possess a major factor toward success.

Dr. Khoo Cheok Kau

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