Go Back   iRV2 Forums > CAMPING, TRAVEL and TRIP PLANNING > RV'ing Humor & Crazy but True Stories
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 02-28-2012, 10:06 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
jeeprubi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Milan, TN
Posts: 450
Short stories for Engineers

You don't have to be an engineer to appreciate this story.

A toothpaste factory had a problem: they sometimes shipped empty boxes, without the tube inside.
This was due to the way the production line was set up, and people with experience in designing
production lines will tell you how difficult it is to have everything happen with timings so precise that
every single unit coming out of it is perfect 100% of the time. Small variations in the environment
(which can't be controlled in a cost-effective fashion) mean you must have quality assurance checks
smartly distributed across the line so that customers all the way down to the supermarket don't get
pissed off and buy another product instead.

Understanding how important that was, the CEO of the toothpaste factory got the top people in the
company together, and they decided to start a new project, in which they would hire an external
engineering company to solve their empty boxes problem, as their engineering department was already
too stretched to take on any extra effort.

The project followed the usual process: budget and project sponsor allocated, RFP, third-parties selected,
and six months (and $8 million) later they had a fantastic solution ó on time, on budget, high quality and everyone in the project had a great time.

They solved the problem by using high-tech precision scales that would sound a bell and flash lights
whenever a toothpaste box weighed less than it should. The line would stop; someone would walk over
and yank the defective box off of it, pressing another button when done to re-start the line.

A while later, the CEO decides to have a look at the Return On Investment of the project: amazing results!
No empty boxes ever shipped out of the factory after the scales were put in place. Very few customer complaints, and they were gaining market share. That's some money well spent! Ė he said, before looking closely at the other statistics in the report.

It turns out, the number of defects picked up by the scales was 0 after three weeks of production use.
It should have picked up at least a dozen a day, so maybe there was something wrong with the report.
He requested an inquiry, and after some investigation, the engineers come back saying the report was
actually correct. The scales really weren't picking up any defects, because all boxes that got to that point in the conveyor belt were good.

Puzzled, the CEO traveled down to the factory, and walked up to the part of the line where the precision
scales were installed. A few feet before the scale, there was a cheap desk fan, blowing the empty boxes
out of the belt and into a bin.

Oh, that, says one of the workers ó one of the guys put it there 'cause, he was tired of walking over
every time the bell rang."
__________________

__________________
2006 Travel Supreme Select 45DL24
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. 35" tires, 4" lift
jeeprubi is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 02-28-2012, 10:34 PM   #2
Member
 
Bill M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 99
Great Story.

I sent a copy to my son in engineering school with a reminder to keep it simple.

thanks, Bill
__________________

__________________
2011 Newmar Essex 4524
Toad: Chevy Equinox
Newmar KK, Escapees, FMCA
Bill M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2012, 10:54 PM   #3
Registered User
 
Fleetwood Owners Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
Posts: 1,857
As Robert Heinlein wrote way back in the 50's. Laziness is the true mother of invention.
__________________
Muddypaws is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2012, 11:15 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Lukeaa's Avatar
 
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Morro Bay, CA
Posts: 789
I love this story. It is sooooo Silicon Valley.
__________________
Luke and Kathy & Charlie kitty, Morro Bay,CA
2007 Diplomat 40' SFT
2013 Honda CR-V "More is the enemy of enough."
Lukeaa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2012, 11:35 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Arch Hoagland's Avatar
 
Monaco Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Clovis, CA, USA
Posts: 5,906
Probably true.
__________________
2004 Monaco La Palma 36DBD, W22, 8.1, 7.1 MPG
2000 LEXUS RX300 FWD 22MPG 4020 LBS
Arch Hoagland is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2012, 07:30 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Wizard's Avatar


 
Winnebago Owners Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Home on the hill in Georgia
Posts: 2,458
All of my years as a technician that worked on these type of systems, the one thing I remember most about my training:

ALWAYS ASK THE OPERATORS FIRST " WHATS GOING ON ?"

Too many techs assumed they knew the problem before they arrived.

If you can't fix it quickly, git a bigger hammer
__________________
Jerry & Patsy Potter, Taz & Jake Jr.
2000 Winnebago Journey
2006 Ford Explorer 4X4
Wizard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2012, 12:18 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Arch Hoagland's Avatar
 
Monaco Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Clovis, CA, USA
Posts: 5,906
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
All of my years as a technician that worked on these type of systems, the one thing I remember most about my training:

ALWAYS ASK THE OPERATORS FIRST " WHATS GOING ON ?"

Too many techs assumed they knew the problem before they arrived.

If you can't fix it quickly, git a bigger hammer
I repaired computers for 40 years and I agree with you. I always asked the operator or customer what they thought the problems was. They spent all day with the equipment and knew it's particular quirks and would notice any subtle changes, etc.
__________________
2004 Monaco La Palma 36DBD, W22, 8.1, 7.1 MPG
2000 LEXUS RX300 FWD 22MPG 4020 LBS
Arch Hoagland is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2012, 02:07 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Lukeaa's Avatar
 
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Morro Bay, CA
Posts: 789
I saw somewhere recently that if you can not fix the problem with a hammer, then it must be an electrical problem.
__________________
Luke and Kathy & Charlie kitty, Morro Bay,CA
2007 Diplomat 40' SFT
2013 Honda CR-V "More is the enemy of enough."
Lukeaa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2012, 07:07 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Dunner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Phx, Arid~zona
Posts: 11,106
Many years ago, when AT&T installed a diesel generator, they went to test it. They killed commercial power and the generator fired right up as expected. A minute later, it died.

The investigation found that the fuel pump was connected to commercial power. Duh!
__________________
2004 32' National Sea Breeze 1311 Class A on a F-53 Chassis, CHF, TST TPMS, 5Star Tune.
If Dunner (RVM23) can't fix it, it ain't broke!
Cheap Handling Fix Poll. Click Here to vote?
Dunner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2012, 10:51 AM   #10
Registered User
 
Fleetwood Owners Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
Posts: 1,857
Diesel Generators

Remember when California had those 'rolling blackouts'. At the time I worked at the 'Electric Power Research Institute', or EPRI for short. During one of the blackouts the local and national media descended upon EPRI to demand an explanation. (We knew it was totally political but that's another story)

EPRI had diesel backup generators that were tested every month and they never had a problem. Until now. The generators ran out of fuel exactly as the president of the institute was meeting with the collected media.

Why? What they never tested was the shutdown of the generators when grid power was restored. So the previous weeks blackout started them and they were never shut off. They ran for several days and NOBODY thought it odd that they were running.

On top of that, they guy who's job it was to manage the fuel purchase and delivery had been laid off 6 months before.

It was a strange place to work but it was in a great location. I had a window office with a view of the rolling hills of Palo Alto and the bay. But even at that I didn't make it a full year.
__________________
Muddypaws is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2012, 10:44 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
wa8yxm's Avatar
 
Damon Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 22,816
I love that "Ran out of fuel" story.. Sounds like a government job.

Lay off the man who's job it is to prevent a problem.. Then .. Well, you can expect said problem to happen.

I have shot a few problems in Government jobs in the past. Alas, I'm not retired.

(had a few more I'd have liked to shot but they don't give guns to dispatchers, and they were taken care of in the due corse of time by more natural means anyway)
__________________
Home is where I park it!
wa8yxm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2012, 12:20 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 456
I watched this true story on TV - A manufacturing firm was building a collar from metal to go over a bearing surface. Due to a computer error all the collars were just a bit to small to fit the surface. It was going to cost millions to fix until one fellow on the line said to give him till tomorrow morning to see if he could fix the problem.

Come early morning and the guy was pressing the collars on without any problem. Asked how he did it he replied "I put the bearing surface in the freezer and that solved that problem".
__________________
Dick Noble is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2012, 12:44 PM   #13
Member
 
Windy City's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 61
I thought engineers were the people who drove trains?
__________________
Windy City is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2012, 02:19 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 456
wa8yxm - I've worked in non-governmental and governmental jobs. I've found idiots in both. I really can't see why folks keep saying bad things about government employees. Near as I can see, it is about the same. I've worked for union and non-union, same thing - about the same % of idiots.

The way I look at it is: we are all people of color - some more than others. We are all mentally retarded - some more than others. We are all mentally ill - some more than others, etc.
__________________

__________________
Dick Noble is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Need opinions on a truck for 39' 5-er EricandAlice Trailer Towing and Tow Vehicles Discussion 28 03-02-2012 12:07 PM
New Swing-away Bike Rack for behind the Camper RedneckExpress iRV2.com General Discussion 5 02-29-2012 12:26 PM
Coachman Catalina Santara 271BH for 1st TT??? ChiefGeek Travel Trailer Discussion 8 02-28-2012 08:35 PM
Looking for used 5th Wheel... 30 ft. plus Bmaintz8 5th Wheel Discussion 19 02-28-2012 07:45 PM
Yet another Sunline for us... EMD_Driver New Rig Show-Off! 4 02-28-2012 07:26 PM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:00 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.