Especially for SME’s – 56: More examples of selecting where only.

07 September 2022


SME 1: Can you give examples in Management and engineering?

Mr. Lowe: In Management, this principle is used in deciding in which countries their organizations would operate, from where they would withdraw, and in which countries they would locate the manufacturing plants; In the case of the hospitality industry, they say there are three factors that decide their success: the first is location, the second is…….location and the third is …………….and you guessed it right, location!

In engineering location is the key factor in design. ‘Where to locate what” is a critical consideration in almost all designs particularly where the space is a constraint as in aircraft, space craft, automobile etc. I remember one incident that happened in the US years ago. One work center suddenly stopped working in a mass production line. When this happens the supply to the entire line stops in the downstream and sooner than later, the entire line comes to a halt, meaning the company comes to a halt. So serious is such a thing that normally you have specially trained engineers to take care of the maintenance of special equipment anywhere in the line.

In this company, the engineer was called in and he could not locate the fault in the equipment. So a team of engineers was formed and even they could not do anything. One whole day passed in this attempt. It was becoming pretty clear that such a delay in re-starting the line cannot go on. So the unit head decided to call an outside consultant who was a specialist in the technology of that equipment. He came the next day morning and spent about an hour in trying to locate the fault. Then he took a very light hammer (goldsmith’s hammer) and lightly tapped one spot in the equipment. And Lo! The equipment came alive and started working.

The specialist engineer went back and sent a bill for 1000$ to the company. The bill was signed off for payment by the engineering department, but the company had a system of pre-audit by accounts department before any bill is finally passed for payment. The accountant concerned felt that one thousand dollars was simply too much for the one hour that the consultant had spent in their company. So he held up the bill for payment.

When the consultant followed up for the payment, the consultant was told of the problem and was asked to come and explain to the accountant in the audit department. The consultant came promptly and the accountant asked him: “We give only $40 an hour even to our most skilled worker. You just took a small hammer and hit the machine, and you are charging exorbitantly for the work you did. How do you justify your fees?” The consultant told the accountant:” See, I have charged the company only $1 for the physical work I did of tapping the equipment with a small hammer. The remaining $999 is my specialist fees to find out where to tap!”. The accountant passed the bill for payment! Choose where only to hit is a critical parameter of strategy.

Malcolm Gladwell, author of “The Tipping Point -How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” makes this point clear: “Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push- in just the right place- it can be tipped.”

SME 3: Choosing where only is an aspect of daily living: “Everything in its place and a place for everything” saves cumulatively a lot of the most precious resources of ours namely time. This is of great use particularly in the kitchen. Have you experienced the daily change of places of gadgets of daily use like soap, hand wash, shaving kit etc. only because somebody who does the cleaning keep changing the place they are kept on a daily basis? I get irritated when I have to search for these things, do you? Mr. Lowe: Imagine the time we took to locate a place before and after GPS. How easy it has become now to locate where what is available with information technology in place. Imagine life without Google search. Google search has released millions of hours of searching on a daily basis by releasing several hours, the most precious resource for any one, for practically every human being around the globe. I really appreciate what they have done. I am sure their algorithm uses “choose where only” as a key parameter.

Searching is a completely avoidable waste of time.

SME 1: Doing even not so objectionable things in inappropriate places like in public places is undesirable and in some cases punishable by law. ……………..contd.


Your Comment:
* Name:
* Email :
* Comment :
0 Comment(s) 272 views
<< Newer Comments         Older Comments >>