Sunday, November 15, 2015
The Life (and Death) of an Idea
Gill Breider her. Here I am sitting at the same machine I've been operating for 32 years, 16 weeks, 3 days, 13 hours and 17 seconds. Daydreaming and working (multi-tasking is what the smart people call it). Haven't missed a day's work since my Dad passed away 8 years ago, and haven't made a defect since that time I accidentally sneezed in 2006. I know my job pretty well, seems like I'm always being called on to help train new people or get the machine running again. Holding the tolerance of the slavish jam to within .00008 of the doo-flicker. Patriots are looking pretty good again, glad the Jets lost last night. So excited, Gloria is making veal parmigiana tonight, I can taste it right now. Wait!!!!! What am I doing? Why not just hold the tolerance of the doo-flicker instead of the slavish jam?!?!? Just think about how much easier everyone's life would be!!! That would cut 1400 hours from the whole job, we'd get the same result, and no doubt we would get that year end bonus! Why didn't I think of that before?!?!? OMG! Oh yeah, wake up! Right now I'm up to my spleen in crocodiles with the big order and the deadlines and the overtime for the Toejam account......everyone is under the gun to produce the slavish jams.
Friday, 11/13/15 10:00 am
Coffee break outside on the picnic table with Horace. He's been with the company 22 minutes longer than me. "Horace I was thinking about the Patriots and the veal, and it hit me. Why don't we just reverse the doo-flicker?"
Horace: "You're out of your mind Gill. We've always done it the same old way.
Me: "but if we could JUST try it, we could save 1395 hours and $42 million dollars a minute! What harm is in that? $17 worth of fixtures, down the drain? So what?"
Horace: now that I think about it, why not try it? What's the worst thing that can happen? If I were you, I'd run it by Peter Harris (the boss).
Tuesday, 11/17/15 noon (Peter took a 3 day weekend and was in meetings all morning and is now running through the plant to get an update on the Toejam account)
Me: "Hey, hey Peter, I have an idea that I think will revolutionize how the world views doo flicker technology. Horace and I (with our 60+ years experience) were talking, and we agreed I should definitely 100% talk to you about this.
Peter: "make it quick Gill, I'm up to my spleen in crocodiles with the Toejam account.Yeah, what?"
Me: What if we hold the tolerance on the doo-flicker instead of the slavish jam? I know it sounds completely crazy, but I really think it will work. The whole process will be faster, cheaper, and Toejam will get their order faster, and we can even get our foot in the door to the other stuff Toejam needs but we're too busy to do that our competitor, Chinstubble does!!!"
Peter: "I'm pretty sure Rocky Rhodes tried that a bunch of years ago. Plus, we can't make a change now, Engineering, quality, finance, inside and outside sales, social media marketing, purchasing, inventory control, the team of Black Belts and HR would all have to be a part of it! And you know what we're up to our spleens with Toejam. We have so much on our plate. Can't afford to stub our toe now. Tell you what, you've been a real rock here, ever since I got hired as a manager 3 months ago, right from college, so I will run it up the ladder and get back to you, OK? Thank you so much for that, that is genius, I'll be in touch. Excellent idea....gotta run."
Horace: ""Hey Gill, remember your idea? Take a look at this (holding the business page from the morning paper, The Morning Guild. There is a picture of the CEO of our competitor, Chinstubble, Rob Scmidt, with the COO of Toejam Industries, and they look pretty chummy, and they have pretty big grins on their faces, hugging. I guess Chinstubble figured out a way to reverse the doo-flicker and the slavish jam! Says here Toejam was able to reduce the price by 14000% and they actually receive the orders 8 or 9 seconds after they place it.
Me: "Wow! How innovative. Yippity do. I tried to tell THEM 2 years ago, but THEY didn't listen. You know what? I just work here. Killing time. Is it Friday yet? Thank God it's Hump Day. How can THEY expect me to do my job plus the work of all the people that got laid off? I guess the only thing that matters around here is if you have a PhD. They tell us nothing, we haven't seen a bonus, and the only raise I got was 2 years ago when I busted my spleen to get that big Toejam order out.
Horace: "Gill, you going to that lean kickoff meeting after lunch? THEY said THEY want to tap into the knowledge and expertise of the true experts, the people who do the value added work, whatever that means, but I think THEY mean us."
Me: "They can tap this."
Moral of the story: you NEVER know where GENIUS will come from in your business. All we need to do is be open and receptive and really, truly LISTEN.
(if you are already one of my incredible customers doing A3 as the mechanism to do continuous, continuous improvements, please disregard this blog)