Timeless lesson on how
consultants can make a difference for an organization.
Last week, we took some
friends out to a new restaurant, and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket. It seemed
a little strange. When the busboy brought our water and utensils, I noticed he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket.
Then I looked around
and saw that all the staff had spoons in their pockets. When the waiter came back to serve our soup I asked, "Why the spoon?"
"Well," he explained,
"the restaurant's owners hired Andersen Consulting to revamp all our processes. After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently dropped utensil. It represents a drop frequency
of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour. If our personnel are better prepared, we can reduce the number of trips back
to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours per shift."
As luck would have it,
I dropped my spoon and he was able to replace it with his spare. "I'll get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen instead
of making an extra trip to get it right now."
I was impressed. I also
noticed that there was a string hanging out of the waiter's fly. Looking around, I noticed that all the waiters had the same
string hanging from their flies. So before he walked off, I asked the waiter, "Excuse me, but can you tell me why you have
that string right there?"
"Oh, certainly!" Then
he lowered his voice. "Not everyone is so observant. That consulting firm I mentioned also found out can save time in the restroom. By tying this string to the tip of you know what, we can pull it out without
touching it and eliminate the need to wash our hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 76.39 percent." I asked
"After you get it out, how do you put it back?"
“Well," he whispered,
"I don't know about the others but I use the spoon."