Monday, June 2, 2008

Flying Cars and a Box of Cereal

When I was much younger, I was certain that we'd have flying cars by now. We'd be able to fly to work, to school, to our favorite vacation spot. Traffic would no longer be an issue. Considering the recent gas prices, I guess maybe it's not such a bad thing that we don't.

I'm sure that the technology exists, but I'm assuming that it hasn't been refined to a cost-effective method of transportation at this point.

When I was much younger, I always had problems opening the inner bag contained inside my box of favorite cereal. In this case, Frosted Flakes. Even trying other brands, I always found a cheaply-made bag inside the main box, that would never open correctly, and almost always, would tear in a manner other than what I intended. As a result, either the cereal spilled inside the box, or in the best-case scenario, the bag was so badly ripped it refused to close properly afterwards. Since the bag wouldn't close properly, I always had stale cereal just a few short days later.

I can understand why we don't have flying cars at this point. I can't understand why no one has addressed the cereal issue yet. Nearly thirty years later and the cereal bag is still cheap. With all of the emphasis modern business puts on continuous improvement and increased customer satisfaction (TQM, Six Sigma, Lean/Kaizen, etc.), why hasn't anyone ever thought to put a zip-loc type bag in a box of cereal?

We get so focused on the methodology and the technical aspects of our approach that we completely miss the obvious opportunities for improvement.

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