Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Process Improvement too Funny

Last week, we took some friends out to a new restaurant, and noticedthatthe waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket.It seemed a little strange, but I ignored it.

However, when the waiterbrought out water and utensils, I noticed he also had a spoon in hisshirtpocket, then looked around the room and saw that all the staff hadspoonsin their pockets.

When the waiter came back to serve our soup I asked, "Why the spoon?""Well," he explained, "the restaurant's owners hired AndersonConsulting,experts in efficiency, in order to revamp all our processes.

After several months of statistical analysis, they concluded thatcustomersdrop their spoons 73.84 percent more often than any other utensil. Thisrepresents a drop frequency of approximately 3 spoons per table perhour.If our personnel is prepared to deal with that contingency, we canreducethe number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours pershift."

As luck would have it I dropped my spoon and he was able to replace Itwithhis spare spoon. "I'll get another spoon next time I go to the kitcheninstead of making an extra trip to get it right now." I was ratherimpressed.

The waiter served our main course and I continued to lookaround.I then noticed that there was a very thin string hanging out of thewaiter's fly (zip).Looking around, I noticed that all the waiters had the same stringhangingfrom their flies. My curiosity got the better of me and before he walkedoff, I asked the waiter, "Excuse me, but can you tell me why you havethatstring right there?""Oh, certainly!" he answered, lowering his voice.

"Not everyone is asobservant as you. That consulting firm I mentioned also found out thatwecan save time in the restroom." "How so?"" See," he continued, "by tying this string to the tip of you know what. .., we can pull it out over the urinal without touching it and that wayeliminate the need to wash the > hands, shortening the time spent in therestroom by 76.39 percent."

"Okay, that makes sense, but...if the string helps you get it out, howdoyou put it back in?" "Well," he whispered, lowering his voice evenfurther,"I don't know about the others, but I use the spoon."

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