Archive for March, 2009

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The Japanese concept of 5S

March 29, 2009

I have always been impressed by the Japanese. I don’t know much of their history but the way in which they reacted after the atom bombs devastated two of their major towns is extremely impressive. Any other country would have got so angry and engaged all its military might and tried to develop a bomb that would destroy at least four more towns of their enemy. The Japanese also got angry. But they let all their anger flow in a totally different direction. They were the first country to engage the experts in their own game (I hope you get the pun J ).  And boy, weren’t they hugely successful!

When I was very young, I saw the photo of a notice board outside a Japanese Factory (It was published in a major Tamil magazine called Ananda Vikadan) reading something like – “Pay would be cut for those workers who would be coming to work on Saturdays and Sundays” They are so committed to work that even on weekends they tend to go to factories and offices. Talk about Job satisfaction! Around the same time, one of my English teachers was back from a short teachers exchange program in a Japanese school.  She was all praise for Japanese student’s discipline and decorum. It seems they were so quiet and attentive throughout her class. And if they went out, say for sports hour etc, they actually formed a line! ( I can understand her agony given the fact that she was telling all these things when she was shouting at all of us for doing exactly the opposite!). There were some more incidents that I came to know – The Toyota cars in Japan don’t come with the tool kit it seems (The company says there cannot be any problems at all, and when one was reported, right from the CEO to the employee who assembled the car were involved in sorting it out and making sure it doesn’t occur again – But I don’t know how far this is true). And one more incident which I read some where as a true joke – The Japanese don’t boycott work if they want to strike. They just do more work than allotted to them so that their marketing managers find it tough to sell all of it and huge stock piles up in the factory!

I later read in a book called “Made in Japan” by the co-founder of Sony Corporation – Akio Morita about the concept of Inheritance Taxes – If you inherit your parent’s property then you are taxed. In fact, there is a saying in Japan that wealth made by forefathers doesn’t last beyond three generations because the taxes are so high after each generation. (I know you want to fight this point out in the comments section, but I just think they are wise enough to bring in such a concept. Wise is the word I used.) He also goes to say that the salary of a CEO may be about 10 times that of a fresher and nothing more. Once again, they impress with their wisdom. When he wanted to expand his operations in USA, he says that he was quite upset about the legal formalities that need to be completed to do business there. In Japan, he says, if the head of an organization commits to the head of another organization even verbally, it is as good as any written contract and the words will be kept (And look what happens here – hmmm!). Do read the book when you get time.

Coming to the title of this post, the 5S is a Japanese management concept which can apply to anything, not only shop floors and manufacturing facilities. They are so simple but yet insightful that you can use them for organizing, say your folders in PC or Email, or your kitchen, etc.

 

Seiri – Put things in order. Arrange, sort. Keep only the essential items – Discard the unessential ones.

Seiton – Proper arrangement. Set in order. There should be a place for everything and everything should be in their place. They should be reached easily when needed.

Seiso – Clean. Keep things clean and polished so that you would love to work with them. This cleaning should be a part of daily work – not after things get messed up!

Seiketsu – Purity and Standardization. Operate in consistent fashion to yield consistent results.

Shitsuke – Sustaining the discipline. Maintaining and reviewing standards. Once the previous 4S have been established, they become a new way to operate. But if there is a suggested improvement or a new tool, then a review of the 4S is appropriate.

 

Simple and effective. 

 

Destination Infinity

You could find similar articles in the Concepts and Ideas section of this blog.

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Doctor or Engineer

March 27, 2009

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 

One smile can do what 100 Wars Cannot.

Vishesh has tagged me to write something that can make others smile. So, I am attempting something – do let me know if you smiled after reading it 😉

Mom and Dad are talking to a 6 month old kid. The words in the italics are supposed to be the thoughts of the kid, as he cannot speak yet.

Mom: Now eat your dinner properly, you need to grow up and become a Doctor or an engineer right?

Kid: Of all the professions available, I have only two choices in my life – why can’t people be more broad minded!!

Dad: I am sure he wants to become a computer engineer like me.

Kid: Now, there is not even that choice looks like!

Mom: You and your computers, he is very clever – like his mom, you want to become a Doctor like your mom, right?

Kid: Speaking of doctor, where is my stethoscope toy that I am sure one of you guys should have taken for playing and not yet returned!

Dad: Dear, don’t push him into thinking that only doctors are clever! All that you doctors would have done during your classes is mug up and memorize the whole syllabus. We engineers are more practical people.

Kid: I think, the topic is slightly deviating from what you want me to become!

Mom: Talk about practicality – You know what most of the engineers do? Sit in the last bench, make a lot of noise, neither study nor participate in the extracurricular activities, and still think that they are practical!

Kid: I am actually slightly impressed by engineering!

Dad: At least, we were enjoying our lives back then, and even now! Just look that the life style that being a software engineer gives you – Nice salary, on site opportunities and the cool aura……. You just can’t beat that, can you?

Kid: I thought software engineering was about writing codes!

Mom: We doctors beat them in the monetary benefits part. Of course, we would rather prefer to go for a full fledged sight seeing trip totally sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies instead of going on the premise of a job, and roaming around.

Kid: And I thought, being a doctor is about saving lives! These movies are spoiling the kids!!

Dad: Don’t impose your judgment on the kid. I think he has the right to choose the best profession, and I know what he will choose after 16 years – right dear 😉 ?

Kid: That’s correct. I think both the professions are equally hopeless. I would rather become a watchman in a ladies college. Can you beat that?

 

Destination Infinity

An appeal: This post was inspired from a serial that came in Star Plus a long time back called ‘The Wonder Years’. If anyone of you reading this has the entire CD collection of Wonder Years, I would love to buy it from you.

You could visit the Quotations and Humour section of this blog for similar articles.

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Ek din ka Raja

March 22, 2009

“How many kilometers are we from Mumbai Airport?”

 “120 KM, Sir”

 “My flight to Singapore starts two and a half hours from now and we have just started! Why has he built the factory so far away?”

 “The cost of land and labour is very less here, when compared to the suburbs of Mumbai”

 “Was I really required for this call? You guys could have closed it yourselves”

 “They are our long standing customers and your presence as a CEO just helped position our deal in the right perspective. As you know, the competition was trying its best to drop prices and create havoc here”

 “Can you stop the car and get some mineral water from nearby? I am feeling very thirsty”

 “I am afraid we won’t get mineral water in these villages. The nearest town is 45 KM away. But we can drink some tender coconut water, if you are very thirsty”

 “Are they hygienic?”

 “Yes Sir, pretty much. Nothing to worry”

 “Ok then, stop the car. Well have it and leave exactly in five minutes. If we delay, we might miss the flight”

 By the time they finished drinking the tender coconut water, a group of kids were admiring the big car. While he was handing over the money to the vendor, a hundred rupee note accidentally fell off from his purse.  One of the kids noticed this, picked up the money and knocked the door of the car, after they sat inside. Misunderstanding the kid’s gesture for begging, they started the car and made a slight forward movement. On seeing this, the other kids came in the way of the car and started waving their hands – gesturing to stop the car, thereby effectively blocking the car from moving forward. The back door of the car opened”

 “What do you guys want?”

 “Saahb, Apke sow rupiya ka note wahan gir gaya tha. Yeh lijiye..”

 “You stopped the car for giving this 100 Rupees? Do you know the cost of my time? Do you know how much my every second counts? It will be in Dollars, not even in rupees! Do you know what will be the loss to my company if I miss the flight today? You guys can never understand all this. And what can a mere 100 Rupees get you these days? Now, get out of my way”

 “Saahb kya bol raha hai?”

 “Usko yeh paisa nahi chaahiye”

 “O, Shukriya Saahb. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. Aaj mein aap sub ko khilaunga. Hum rasagulla khayenge, mithayiyan khayenge, samose khayenge, nariyal ka paani peyenge aur lassi bhi piye. Bahut maaza aayega. Ek din ka raja bangaye hum. Ek din ka raja. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.“

  

Destination Infinity

You could visit the Short Stories (Fiction) section of this blog for similar articles. 

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Memorable Quotes

March 16, 2009

Some quotes are memorable. There was one such quote which I still remember till date which had a huge influence on my thought process. The essence was something like – “You are only responsible for whatever happens around you”. Initially I was glaring with disbelief. It took quite sometime for the wisdom in the quote to sink in me. But when it did, it changed my whole thought process and I am glad about it. So, I am presenting some quotes like that which was forwarded by a friend through email over the years. This time I have linked her blog. And yes, all the credit for searching these quotes and sending them to us go to her. But according to the above quote, I can also take credit for good things that happen around me 🙂  

 

“While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior”

 

“It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them”

 

“It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help”

 

“The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side”

 

“Believe everything or doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking”

 

“A hen is only an egg’s way of making another egg”

 

“Talent hits a target where no one else can hit. Genius hits a target where no one else can see”

 

“Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem”

 

“If you want something you never had, do something that you have never done”

 

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”

 

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing”

 

“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer”

 

“Reality is merely an illusion albeit a very persistent one”

 

“Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality”

 

“The point of living and being an optimist, is to be foolish enough to believe the best is yet to come”

 

“All people want is someone to listen”

 

Related Posts: Thought Provoking Quotes, Thought Provoking Quotes – II

 

 

Destination Infinity

You could visit the Quotations and Humour section of this blog for similar articles. 

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Simple pleasures of life

March 7, 2009

For about nine months since her birth, Saraswathi had never been outside her room. She was diagnosed with a strange disease since her birth which kept her in the incubator all this long. Recently, the doctors recommended that she could be taken out and slowly start living a normal life. So, Krishna and Snehal were more than happy. But since their daughter has never been outside her room, they wanted to show something special for the first time when she came out.

Snehal: What do we show her?

Krishna: Maybe we could run a DVD of the latest animation picture in my laptop and show it to her?

Snehal: That would be quite normal. I want to show her something special.

Krishna: We’ll show her my Iphone. I have got this new theme….

Snehal: Forget it. I want to show something natural.

Krishna: Let us show the red roses in the garden.

Snehal: Where is the garden?

Krishna: Well, we have some pots having red roses in our balcony right?

Snehal: We had one pot which you brought before three months and the plant has died since as you never watered it.

Krishna: No one has responsibility in this house! Ok, then maybe we could take her in the car and Ill drive at 80 KM per hour. That should be a great experience for her!

Snehal: I think I know what to do. Wait, let me check the calendar. Yes, today is the right day. Ill go and open the terrace. You bring her up there. And close her eyes with your hands while you bring her up.

……………………….

Krishna: I am here.

Snehal: Ok. Now hold her in a position that she can see the sky when you take off your hands.

Krishna: Ok. Now here goes off my hands…..

The night sky was in its full splendor. It was a full moon day. There were almost no clouds and even some stars were visible. The kid should have loved the sight. But Krishna was even more exited.

Krishna: Wow Snehal, it is a lovely sight. The full moon is beautiful.

Snehal: Isn’t it?

Krishna: But, why didn’t you tell me before?

Snehal: Is this some kind of a breaking news which I was hiding from you? How long has it been since you came to the terrace and saw the moon?

Krishna: It’s been some years, I guess. Before I joined my IT job, I used to stare at the moon and wonder when I’ll get a job! And before that I used to come to the terrace to write poems.

Snehal: You and your IT job. You don’t seem to have the time for even enjoying the simple pleasures of life! By the way, what was the new theme that you were mentioning to have just put on your iphone?

Krishna: ‘Full Moon’!!

 

Destination Infinity

You could visit the Short Stories (Fiction) section of the blog for similar articles.

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My favorite Ayn Rand Quote from Atlas Shrugged

March 1, 2009

 

“Did it ever occur to you, Miss Taggart, that there is no conflict of interests among men, neither in business nor in trade, nor in their most personal desires – if they omit the irrational from their view of the possible and destruction from their view of the practical? There is no conflict and no call for sacrifice, and no man is a threat to the aims of another – if men understand that reality is an absolute not to be faked, that lies do not work, that the unearned cannot be had, that the undeserved cannot be given, that the destruction of a value which is, will not bring value to that which isn’t. The businessman who wishes to gain a market by throttling a superior competitor, a worker who wants a share of his employers wealth, the artist who envies a rival’s higher talent – they are all wishing facts out of existence, and destruction is the only means of their wish. If they pursue it, they will not achieve a market, a fortune or an immortal fame – They will merely destroy production, employment and art. A wish for the irrational is not to be achieved, whether the sacrificial victims are willing or not. But men will not cease to desire the impossible and will not lose their longing to destroy – so long as self destruction and self sacrifice are preached to them as the practical means of achieving the happiness of the recipients” – Ayn Rand as John Galt in Atlas Shrugged.  

 

Read the most important part once again : “If men understand that reality is an absolute not to be faked, that lies do not work, that the unearned cannot be had, that the undeserved cannot be given, that the destruction of a value which is, will not bring value to that which isn’t”

 

Excellent analysis. But the author believes in idealism which according to me is non-existent and the same points are repeated again and again and again and again – to the extent of irritating you (Especially after Mr. John Galt comes in).

 

Destination Infinity

You could visit the Quotations and Humour section of this blog for similar articles.