Prea multa stiinta


Un scurt (si superficial) studiu de caz asupra unei din cele mai mari companii de aeronautica & armament din S.U.A. – Lockheed Martin – si cum s-au incurcat in prea multa stiinta.

On one project we were beating our heads against the wall trying to figure out how to make a bike computer water proof, looked at all sorts of solutions but the battery door was just letting the H20 [in], no matter what we did.

I was trying to figure out the solution at the local pub and over a beer, one of the tooling guys sat down on the stool next to me. I knew this guy a little from being out on the floor and borrowing the use of a milling machine from time to time. He asked me what I was drawing so more about being polite than anything else, I told him. He mulled it over for a bit and said: “Ok zippy, buy me a beer and I will tell you how to solve your problem.” I said: “Solve or not, the next beer is on me, so tell me what’s your idea”. He had asked some questions such as how much power it pulled, what type of batteries etc. I had planned, questions you would not expect from a “tooling” guy.

He fired up a smoke (lots of us smoked back then) and said, while snapping closed a Zippo lighter with odd logo on it, “well Zippy you’re thinking about the problem all wrong. You will not ever get a o ring to seal that little battery door for more than a few times and when it fails the product will too, pissing off the customer. What you want to do is get rid of the battery door completely, so why not just use a little NiCad battery and an induction coil to recharge it. That way your customer never has to buy some weird ass battery, the unit cannot ever leak and will be easier to tool and produce.” I told him I would look into it, and did, the numbers made the product better, and even a bit cheaper, not to mention the customers thought it was cool that it was rechargeable. Remember the tooling guys Zippo with a funny logo on it, well the logo was of a little cartoon skunk, the logo of the famous Lockheed skunk works (P80, U2, SR-71. F-117a) and they did not sell them in the gift shop…

Un citat de-a lui Zippy Flounder. Mi-a placut citatul, dar si arata ce soi de oameni lucrau in anii 70 la Lockheed.

De-a lungul timpului si-au format procese de munca solide si au reusit sa-si tina angajatii valorosi. Asa au si ajuns intr-o situatie ciudata. In 2004, se semnala ca 74% din angajatii lor se vor pensiona in urmatorii 10 ani. Iar astazi, programul F-35, care ar fi trebuit sa produca un avion mai ieftin decat F-22, nu reuseste sa indeplineasca toate cerintele si costa dublu.

Astfel va indemn sa cautati solutii simple, nu procese, sau cum spunea Sir John Banham, presedintele Confederation of British Industry:

[...] we often invest huge amounts in being precisely wrong rather than seeking to be approximately right.