Process Industry Consultant / Soft Skill
Ram K Navaratna
Hr Consultancy
+1 Other

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One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management was the case of the empty soapbox, which happened in one of Japan's biggest cosmetics companies. The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soapbox 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 soapbox went through the assembly line empty. Management asked its engineers to solve the problem. Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with high-resolution monitors manned by two people to watch all the soapboxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty. No doubt, they worked hard and they worked fast but they spent a 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 soapbox passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.

Moral: Always look for simple solutions.


From India
Very good real example. Instance for common sense and creativity. Ram K Navaratna HR Resonance
From India, Bangalore
There is solution of every problem but need to indetify it on your level & capacity. Thanx & regards
From India, Velluru
Dear Vipul Thanks for sharing the story & reminding me once again the priority of quality is been given in higher side in japan we indian's should learn many strategies and commitment shown by japanese..Thanks for sharing...:)

From India, Bangalore
Hello Vipulkadi,
This is a very popular example and thanks for posting the same.
In our quest for searching a sophisticated solution we more often
forget elementary science.
Air blowing away the empty box is a classic example of simple
and effective thinking.
There is yet another popular story.
The US space team was facing a big challenge to make pens write when
the astronauts were in spacecraft.
They were not sure how the ink would flow in changed pressure conditions.
It is told that the Russians chose the foolproof alternative of using a pencil.
V.Raghunathan..................................... ......................................Navi Mumbai

From India
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