MISTAKE PROOFING--NOT 100 PROOFING
My wife pointed out to me this weekend this AP article of a toddler served margarita in a sippy cup. A restaurant kept apple juice and margarita mix in identical plastic containers and, you guessed it, the wrong bottle ended up causing the little guy to get drowsy and vomit. He’s OK now but what an ordeal.
I read the newspaper clip to our manufacturing team this morning as an illustration of why we pay attention to mistake proofing. I expected them to get the message. I was surprised, however, at the depth of their reaction. Audible gasps, furrowed brows, inquisitiveness, genuine attention. On reflection, I realized that the story has an emotional punch carrying an impact unequalled by any of my typical, more sterile manufacturing presentations. The message was instantly recognizable and understandable.
What I thought would be a tool for teaching about mistake-proofing turned into a deeper tool to teach me about how to teach. The story is far more useful than the lecture. The word picture tells more than the bullet points. Connecting emotionally is far more important than merely transferring knowledge. Difficult lessons for a linear-thinking engineer. Essential lessons though.
Keep learning. Oh, and did I tell you the one about…..?