One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management
was the case of the empty soap box, which happened in one of Japan’s
biggest cosmetics companies.

The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought
a soap box that was empty. Immediately the authorities
isolated the problem to the assembly line, which transported
all the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department.
For some reason, one soap box went through the assembly line

Management asked its engineers to solve the problem.
Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray
machine with high-resolution monitors manning by two people
to watch all the soap boxes that passed through the line to
make sure they were not empty. No doubt, they worked hard
and they worked fast but they spent whoopee amount to do so.

But when a rank-and-file employee in a small company was
posed with the same problem, did not get into complications
of X-rays, etc but instead came out with another

He bought a strong industrial electric fan and pointed it
at the assembly line. He switched the fan on, and as each
soap box passed the fan. It simply blew the empty boxes out
of the line.

Moral of the story: always look for simple solutions.
Devise the simplest possible solution that solves the

When NASA began the launch of astronauts into space, they
found out that the pens wouldn’t work at zero gravity
(Ink won’t flow down to the writing surface). In order
to solve this problem, it took them one decade and $12
million.. They developed a pen that worked at zero gravity,
upside down, underwater, in practically any surface
including crystal and in a temperature range from below
freezing to over 300 degrees C. And what did Russians

The Russians used a Pencil !!!

So, learn to focus on solutions not on problems.

“If you look at what you do not have in life,
you don’ t have anything.”

“If you look at what you have in life, you have everything.”