Wednesday, November 21

A fictional story on process improvement

A fictional story.
Any similarity is merely coincidental.

There is a company that manufacture explosives.
We all know how dangerous explosives are, if landed up in the hands of the wrong people.

So the company issued staff pass, affixed with photos, to all its employees and contractors. Security guards were employed to ensure no unauthorised entries.

The security guards did their job well by checking the passes for everyone that went through the entrances. They also do random checks on any bulky bags carried, to ensure that nothing will threaten the security of the building.

Everything went on well for many years, until one day, the company employed a graduate from a well-known university to oversee the security department.

This new young manager was very much into process improvement. He thought it doesn't make sense to employ 3 security guard, on 8-hour rotational shifts, to look after the gate. Anyway, the security guards are idling most of the time as there are very few people going pass the gate.

So he drafted his first masterplan.

Problem: The security guards are not being gainfully employed, as there are few activities at the gate.
Solution: Build a entry gate system which will ensure one entry at a time, which can only be activated with tap cards, and thereby replacing the security guards.
Benefits: Long-term cost savings + Better security

With the blessings from the senior management, he got various interested parties to bid for the project, and eventually settled for a company well-established with tap cards.

After 6 months, entry gate system was built. Anyone who wants to enter and exit will have to use the new tap card to gain access pass the entry gate system.

To ensure that everything is smooth, the security guards were deployed as usual, at least for the first few months.

There were no complains on the entry gate system for the first few months, and the manager gave himself a pat on the back.

Well, here's what consequently happened.

(1) The security guards were no longer checking the passes, matching the photos to the faces. Meaning anyone who found the company's tap card can go in and out of the building with ease.

(2) The security guards are aware that they will be replaced sooner or later by the tap card systems. They were half-hearted at work. They stayed inside their air-conditioned security posts and hardly bother to check the bags of those going past the entry gate system.

(3) New contractors do pass by the gates. These guys have no tap card, and have to be manually cleared by the security guards, who will allow them to pass the entry gate system with the touch of a button. Meaning, the guards are still needed.

(4) The entry gate system system is powered by electricity. During on-and-off instances when there was a power shortage, the entry gate wouldn't budge! Employees coming to work will be stuck outside, and those who wants to leave the premises are stuck inside.

Welcome to process improvement!

About the Author: Shingo T believes that all problems are made by man, for other men.

1 comment:

The Horny Bitch said...

Sounds bitter on 'improvement'.

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