Have you ever seen the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel go to work in a chocolate factory? The chocolates are coming off the line so fast they can’t keep up and Lucy ends up stuffing her mouth with them just to collect them off the line? Any manufacturer who tells you they haven’t been through that is pulling your leg. We have ALL been through it and it can be nerve racking to literally see money going down the drain or in the recycle bins. But it sure is funny to laugh about it later.
We recently launched a new product in the market. And while the product itself was not new, we suddenly, overnight, turned-on brand-new machines and expected them to all work. They did, but the process of training and bringing everyone up to speed at the same time didn’t. We had product coming off the lines and no-one to collect it and package them. Needless to say, the wastage factor that day was higher than expected. People don’t work as fast as machines and I think a lot of times, we forget that. In the age of being automated, connected, and digital, we forget the simple act of slowing a machine down increases productivity. Once we slowed the lines down, ramped up slowly and then turned the machines on faster, we became more productive. Same goes in life, too, I think. Running at 90 miles an hour does not make us more productive.