Could Most Of What You Think You Know Be Wrong?


Hiroshima night scene

When preparing for a Value Analysis study keep that thought in mind.  One of the principal roadblocks to finding good value is “We’ve always done it that way”.  There are a number of others, and note that eliminating roadblocks is one of the principal challenges when conducting a value analysis kaizen.  Along with the roadblock “We’ve always done it that way” is conventional wisdom born of tribal knowledge in the organization.  There is a natural resistance to change.  Accepting long held beliefs as true or relevant is simply because thinking is hard work for most people.  There may be cultural issues to deal with as well.  In America there are varying amounts of pressure to conform in most organizations, and no one wants to rock the boat.  In other cultures, particularly in Asia, the pressure to conform is much greater. In China, especially when trouble shooting production problems, it’s extremely difficult to get to the bottom of things because above all else people there make every attempt to avoid getting blamed for something, and avoid laying blame anywhere else.  I once was in a meeting with a room full of workers in China who were dealing with a problem with a batch of parts that were failing incoming inspection.  These blokes went round and round for an hour and a half and got nowhere.  During a bathroom break whilst waiting for them to return I picked up the item in question and took a close look at it for the first time and realized immediately that the supplier had made the part with worn out threading dies.  When I pointed this out when everyone returned, only after another hour’s worth of discussion and a trip to the optical comparator everyone finally agreed that the problem lay with the supplier.  But they were definitely loth to admit that.

Another principal tenet of value analysis is using the best possible data available.  Everyone is making the wrong argument about so-called global warming.  Of course the climate is changing.  The climate has always been changing, either getting warmer or getting cooler, but never static.  The fact that a mild warming period that began in the 1700’s roughly coincides with the industrial revolution and increase in population has the climate change activists blaming this warming on human activity.  As a dynamic but mostly stable system the earth’s climate seems most heavily dependent on one single factor: the output of the sun.  As far as the proportion of the current warming trend attributable to human activity it seems, compared with other factors, to be insignificant.  Given the thermal mass of all the water in the oceans, the atmosphere and the earth itself, compared to the annual output of all fossil fuel burning worldwide that massively overwhelms anything that humans could possibly do.  Except maybe for cities, which seem to contribute significantly to warming, at least where I live.  It’s always at least 5 degrees cooler here in the country than in town.  If heat is the problem then why is no one talking about what some climate scientists have theorized- that we will be entering a period of global cooling sometime around 2030?  But where is the data?  What effect does human activity have on the climate anyway?  Nobody can put a number on it.  Anecdotal evidence does not count when performing value analysis.  When politicians threaten legal action against so-called climate change deniers we can be sure it’s not about climate science, it’s about money and power, pure and simple.

Think about some doom and gloom predictions from the not too distant past.  Remember back in the 1970’s how many said the world was going to run out of food?  Then the green revolution happened.  Remember also from that time the population explosion alarmists and the predictions of 10 billion or more people?  Just the opposite is occurring.  As countries develop and become more wealthy people naturally have fewer children.  Most developed countries around the world now have population growth below replacement rates.  This is a huge looming disaster for countries like Japan, slated to lose HALF its population by 2060, and South Korea, whose population could fall proportionately even more.  China recently eliminated its one child policy but not likely soon enough to prevent population decline there as well.  Oh, and about all that noise we’ve heard for at least 50 years about “peak oil” and the fact that we’re running out of it?  One of the biggest problems today with oil is where to store it all.  Idle railroad tank cars are sitting on sidings full of the stuff simply because there is nowhere else to put it.  Soon the USA will be the world’s largest oil producer, surpassing even Saudi Arabia.

Think of what we eat in America and about how wrong all the recommendations from the government about nutrition have been.  Actually it should not be surprising since a lot of this so-called dietary guidance is promoted by processed food makers, most of whose products are making people sick.  But everything you know about what and how to eat is probably wrong, or at least highly misinformed.  Drink several glasses of milk a day?  Wrong.  Butter is bad for you because it has fat? Wrong. The list is too long to go into here.  But if we can’t seem to get even basic things like how to eat properly right, what other generally held beliefs that we all have might be not quite so or totally the opposite?  Don’t ever be afraid to question anything. But do your research carefully and consult multiple sources.  Question everything.  Get the best data available.  Find qualified subject matter experts to join the value analysis team.  The most significant cost reductions usually come from areas that you least expect to yield savings.  That’s one of the greatest features of the Value Analysis methodology.