Labor Day Fun

Not really much to celebrate this year (again!) as a nation concerning labor in the U.S. with 23 million Americans out of work and/or underemployed. The U.S.Debt Clock showing the national debt just rolled over the $16,000,000,000,000 mark while I was writing this. (Over $17 trillion now! National Debt Tracker on the bottom of every page on this site.) We are losing our grip on our national prosperity. Corporate greed and political mishandlings have gotten us here. And it's accelerating faster than you might think! We're coming into the home stretch of the political recycle season with the national elections coming up soon. We'll be given  uniquely differentiating plans (and promises!) to get us out of this mess. As a responsible citizen of this nation each American must get involved in this discussion... and make your voice heard at the polls this November! We truly are at a cross roads as a nation. I see it as necessary we get a big turn out this year! 

But... rather than git all politicalized, I wanted to share this with you. I thought this story was great. Don't know who the author is and don't care if it's true. It may be as it's not showing up on any debunking sites I use. TexasLucy sent me this. (Thanks hun!) Thought it would be appropriate to have a story showing some working class ingenuity this Labor Day.

You don’t have to be an engineer to appreciate this story!

 A toothpaste factory had a problem: they sometimes shipped empty boxes, without the tube inside. This was due to the way the production line was set up, and people with experience in designing production lines will tell you how difficult it is to have everything happen with timings so precise that every single unit coming out of it is perfect 100% of the time. 

Small variations in the environment (which can’t be controlled in a cost-effective fashion) mean you must have quality assurance checks smartly distributed across the line so that customers all the way down to the supermarket don’t get pizzed off and buy another product instead.

Understanding how important that was, the CEO of the toothpaste factory got the top people in the company together and they decided to start a new project, in which they would hire an external engineering company to solve their empty box's problem, as their engineering department was already too stretched to take on any extra effort. 

The project followed the usual process: budget and project sponsor allocated, RFP, third-parties selected, and six months (and $8 million) later they had a fantastic solution — on time, on budget, high quality and everyone in the project had a great time. Especially at the 6 figure celebration party to celebrate the projects successfull end.

They had solved the problem by using high-tech precision scales that would sound a bell and flash lights whenever a toothpaste box weighed less than it should because of the missing tube of toothpaste. The line would stop; someone would walk over and yank the defective box off the line, pressing another button when done to re-start the line and production.

A while later, the CEO decides to have a look at the Return on Investment of the project: amazing results! Not one empty box ever shipped out of the factory after the scales were put in place. Very few customer complaints and they were gaining market share.

“That’s some money well spent!” – he said, before looking closely at the other statistics in the report.

It turns out, the number of defects picked up by the scales was 0 after three weeks of production use. It should have picked up at least a dozen a day, so maybe there was something wrong with the report.

He requested an inquiry, and after some investigation, the engineers come back saying the report was actually correct. The scales really weren't picking up any defects, because all boxes that got to that point in the conveyor belt were good.

Puzzled, the CEO traveled down to the factory, and walked up to the part of the line where the precision scales were installed.

A few feet before the scale, there was a cheap desk fan, blowing the light, empty boxes off of the belt and into a bin.

“Oh, that,” says one of the workers when aksed by the CEO — “one of the guys put it there 'cause he was tired of walking over every time the bell rang and turning the belt back on."


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