You know sometimes it's the most simple things that stop everything. With today's prices on repair bills many of us are faced with fixing what breaks ourselves instead of just sending it to the shop. I am always learning new things from the various forums I belong to, (believe me there is a forum for just about everything, not just bikes). And I've learned a lot of great troubleshooting technics and processes from more experienced guys like Tquention, Brian, Hoople, Glider, Jack, HDDon, RedfishJoe, Breeze and his half brother Bubbie and too many more of you guys to list. However from all these guys I always see the element of the simple things first, or as we used to call in Surveying work, Redundancy. By eliminating the simple things first, many hours and dollars can be saved. Checking and cleaning the grounds, fuses, wiggingling the wires or even just being a little creative and outside the box looking for a solution. So on this subject I want to share with you a funny story my brother-in-law from Kansas sent me email this morning. ============================================= Engineering solution story. A toothpaste factory had a problem: they sometimes shipped empty boxes, without the tube inside. You know the little individual boxes you take the tube out of when you bring it home. This was due to the way the production line was set up. People with experience in designing production lines will tell you how difficult it is to have everything happen with timing so precise that every single unit coming out of it is perfect 100% of the time. You must have quality assurance checks smartly distributed across the line so that customers all the way down to the supermarket don’t get ticked-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 hire an external engineering company to solve their empty boxes problem. The project followed the usual process: budget and project sponsor allocated, RFP, third-parties selected, and six months (and $1 million) later they had a solution — on time, on budget. They solved the problem by using high-tech precision scales that would sound a bell and flash lights whenever a toothpaste box would weigh less than it should. The line would stop, and someone had to walk over and yank the defective box out of it, pressing another button when done to re-start the line. A while later, the CEO decides to have a closer look at the project's amazing results! No empty boxes ever shipped out of the factory since the scales were put in place. Very few customer complaints, and they were gaining market share. However as he investigates closer "all" the statistics in the report. He notices something very strange. The first 2 weeks into the operation of the new equipment scales the reports showed line stoppage and alerts at least a dozen times a day. But then all of a sudden after the first 2 week period, there are NO recorded occurances of line stoppage anymore. The CEO thought maybe there was something wrong with the report. He launched an investigation, and after some work, the engineers come back saying the report was actually correct. The scales really weren't picking up any empty boxes anymore because all boxes that got to that point in the conveyor belt were now all good product filled boxes. Puzzled, the CEO traveled down to the factory, and walked up to the part of the line where the precision scales were installed. He then saw a few feet before the scale, there was a $20 desk fan, blowing any empty boxes off of the belt and into a bin. He inquired about this fan. “Oh, that,” says one of the workers — “one of the guys put it there cause he was tired of walking over every time the bell rang”.