Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rex Barker here with,

"We’ve Always Done It That Way,'sent to us by Roger H from Manchester, England...

A quality management consultant was visiting a small and somewhat antiquated English manufacturing company to advise on improving general operating efficiency. The advisor was reviewing a particular daily report which dealt with aspects of productivity, absentee rates, machine failure, down-time, etc.

The report was completed manually onto a photocopied pro-forma that was several generations away from the original master-copy, so its headings and descriptions were quite difficult to understand. The photocopied forms were particularly fuzzy at the top-right corner, where a small box had a heading that was not clear at all. The advisor was interested to note that the figure '0' had been written in every daily report for the past year. On questioning the members of staff who completed the report, they told him that they always put a zero in that box, and when he asked them why they looked at each other blankly.

"Hmmm.., I'm not sure about that," they each said, "I guess we've just always done it that way."

Intrigued, the consultant visited the archives to see if he could find a clearer form, to discover what was originally being reported and whether it actually held any significance. When he found the old reports, he saw that the zero return had continued uninterrupted for as far back as the records extended - at least the past thirty years - but none of the forms was any clearer than those presently in use.

A little frustrated, he packed away the old papers and turned to leave the room, but something caught his eye. In another very dusty box he noticed a folder, promisingly titled 'master forms'. Sure enough inside it he found the original daily report pro-forma master-copy, in pristine condition.

In the top right corner was the mysterious box, with the heading clearly shown ...... 'Number of Air Raids Today'. (For those too young to understand, it was referring to WW II.)

This is Rex Barker reminding you to open your eyes, and think out of the box a little. The great ones in history were the ones who questioned current belief systems.


Twisted Fencepost said...

Interesting, Patty!
This is a good thing that no one had to keep track of air raids, because there weren't any.

bb mcclain said...

We haven't had any air raids lately. I keep listening for the sirens though.

Margaret Cloud said...

I like this post, I can remember the air raid sirens in our neighborhood back home in Ohio, they scared me. Have a good week.

Renie Burghardt said...

I remember the air raid sirens in Hungary, when I was a child. We had very few days when they didn't go off.

You do find the most interesting things to post, Patty.

Have a good evening.