A modern parable


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Ponder This One...

A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (Ford Motor Co) decided
to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and
hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the
reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior
management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.

Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people paddling and 1 person
steering, while the American team had 7 people steering and 2 people

Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting
company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion.They
advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not
enough people were paddling.

Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another
loss to the Japanese, the paddling team's management structure was totally
reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 2 area steering superintendents and 1
assistant superintendent steering manager.

They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 2 people
paddling the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the
'Rowing Team Quality First Program,' with meetings, dinners and free pens
for the paddlers. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and
other equipment, extra vacation days for practices, and bonuses. The pension
program was trimmed to 'equal the competition' and some of the resultant
savings were channeled into morale boosting programs and teamwork posters.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the American management laid off one paddler, halted development
of a new canoe, sold all the paddles, and cancelled all capital investments
for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives
as bonuses.

The next year, try as he might, the lone designated paddler was unable to
even finish the race (having no paddles), so he was laid off for
unacceptable performance, all canoe equipment was sold and the next year's
racing team was out-sourced to India.
Sadly......the End.

Here's something else to think about: Ford has spent the last thirty years
moving all its factories out of the US, claiming they can't make money
paying American wages.

TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants
inside the US. The last quarter's results:

TOYOTA makes 4 billion in profits, while Ford racks up 9 billion in losses.

The management guys at Ford are still scratching their heads, and collecting



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I have owned Ford and Toyota cars. Since about 1995 I have only owned Toyota, not because I like the Japs, but because they make the reliable cars. My last Ford was in and out of repair shops with chewed out ring gears, eventually they found out the flywheel had been incorrectly machined. My Toyotas have just gone on and on with oil changes and fuel added.


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Yenn, I once had a new Toyota Corona which had the wrong-size clutch fitted and it gave trouble from new until it got replaced.
The most reliable car I ever had was a Leyland P76, which went for 600,000km with no problems. But it became too unfashionable and the wife made me change it . Left to my own devices, I would probably still be driving it.
The very week I bought the P76, this guy at work paid 3 times more to buy a Volvo, and he got one where the camshaft had not been hardened. He was taking it back for months, much to my amusement.
You can't assume too much about mass-produced cars I reckon.


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That old P76 was a good car killed by whingers, rather like happened with the Jab engines. I believe it won the Paris Dakar rally when it was newly produced.
My brother-in-law and father-in-law had a P76 each, they thought they were pretty good. Design brilliant, shame about the build quality (fixable over time) and the rust. Back on topic, any mass-produced item is a balance between quality and time of manufacture, with the added 'loose cannon' of employee conscientiousness. This is where the Japanese score - enthusiasm for the product and good work ethic throughout the organisation. Its hard for any organisation to enthuse its workers when management is more concerned with short-term profit than long term sustainability.
Believe it was Henry Ford who said he needed to pay his workers well so they could afford to buy his cars.
Back to the P76, if you like taking risks, and flying a taildragger while inebriated isn't risky enough, go to one of the many P76 clubs in Oz and tell them their cars are junk .....


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I loved my 6 cylinder P76. It did 600,000 k without much trouble and I only got rid of it because the wife said it was too unfashionable.
It cost 2,400 dollars new and in the same week a colleague at work bought a Volvo for 7,200.
The Volvo had a fault which meant it was often back at the dealers. Gosh I enjoyed scoffing at this guy.
That 1974 P76 was the last car with no pollution stuff on it. We replaced it with a Toyota Corona which, as "anti pollution" gear had a blower to blow fresh air into the exhaust system. ( double the flow and you halve the emission concentration, while leaving the total emissions unchanged)... Insane huh?


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My 253 HX Holden was the first with the pollution gear, it was a sick puppy from day one. I put a 250 Holley on it but that didn't really fix it.


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Dead and thirsty those early 253's. They ended up good about 1992. Must be a bit like Jabs Yenn. Had Holden pistons in them. HSV did very well eventually. Nev


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Model planes have mainly gone electric. I have several IC engines but don't use them. The electric power is just so easy and clean. You can build an old free-flight design , like a Dixielander, and fly it ( radio assist) without getting the lovely balsa and doped tissue plane soaked with oil.
But the tractor powered with electric? Not possible, but I hesitate to say it never will be.


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She will have to be one very powerful battery to be useful as a tractor or a roadtrain power source or jet engine replacement. These are very concentrated total energy use . You can make your own fuel synthetically if you have enough power. High temp required. Solar is unlimited and falls on the earth whether you use it or not. Australia is probably the most suitable place on earth to use solar all things considered. (Except for this current government who work to oppose it at every move because they profit from coal support) That's a fact. Sorry Neil. People are taking their own action despite the lack of aid by their governments all over the world. especially places like California, that's doing very well thank you. People there don't lack intelligence or remain stuck in the past. Nev