Story of Scientific Management Guru: Back to the Roots of Scientific Management with Frederick Winslow Taylor

While his name is not known to most people, his impact on the 20th century was quite profound. He is Frederick Winslow Taylor, a management theorist that focus on the labor process. He is the backbone of today’s management by the use of science. His works started blooming in an era after companies have become more than a mere limited project, but unlimited by the boundary of time and that in this time, industrialization is on the move.

Companies were growing in scope and racing to reap the benefits of industrialization. They were so starving in harvesting benefits of industrialization. In that time, companies need much more labor than ever to be able to produce products that made possible by the industrialization.However, even labor is many, a fundamental problem is emerging that needs an answer, how do we get labor to work more to ensure maximum output?

His works begin with many writings in the theory of work that mainly focusing on  finding the way of controlling the motion of workers to obtain highest maximum output for what company pay for wages.

Even all that he has created  is not fully acceptable in todays modern era but many of his concepts become a root for current management practice. His controversial concept such as the concept of soldiering that workers didn’t work hard enough is totally rejected by lean thinking that fundamentally held a strong believe that worker is good and therefore most of error come from engineer or the architect of the system that most of the time have to put to blame.

Soldiering held a believe that in a majority of cases the man deliberately plant to do as little as he possibly can to turn out far less work than he is well able to do in may instances to do not more than 1/3 or 1/2 of a proper day’s work. ~ Taylor

Proper day’s work is a maximum level of output humanly possible or  a fair day’s work. when worker is not physically possible to reach this, he fired them. He argued that soldiering was possible because company management does not even know how much work can be extracted from workers. once to make a stubborn man who refuse to make any improvement to achieve this fair days work he cut his wages.

Industriearbeiter Giesserei // foundry industry employees

Taylor’s goal was to take knowledge work from the worker and put it in the hands of management to be used as control of workers. He himself called this method as Scientific Management. However, his method on full reliance solely on management let to the born of shopfloor expert which is industrial engineer. However, as people said that too much is never good, the role of management in shopfloor is too dominating that even in the development of work instruction, management get a majority of decision on the content and organization of it which is fundamentally different than now

But his famous real contribution besides of his many controversial concept is his management theories and the concept of time study.

There are many and different ways for come at doing the same things, there is always one method and one implement which is better than any of the rest. and this one best method and one best implement can only be discovered through a scientific study of an analysis of all the methods in use.

He stated that no job is to simple or to complex. In fact, in he has spent 26 years only for figuring out the best way to cut metal. but in other examples, many simple works can be rationalized as well.

Some of his wise words are never more appropriate now compare to at his time:

We can see our forest vanishing, our water-powers going to waste.. the end of our coal and iron is in sight. But the larger waste of human effort, which go on everyday through such of our acts as are blundering, ill-directed or inefficient are less-visible, less tangible and all but vaguely appreciated.. ~ Frederick Taylor


Tea and Productivity

Several days ago, I walked down to city center on Saturday morning to get myself a little exercise in the weekend. When I walk, I like to pick new routes, so besides exercising, I could get a totally new refreshing perspective of the neighborhood where I cross. This time, I went through some roads and alleys that I have never had gone through before and in the middle of my walk, a store window caught my attention.

Through the store window, I could saw many kinds of teapots displayed behind the window. From outside the store, I could look into the store these big tubes contained tea leaves. My curiosity made me to enter the store to just find what this interesting store could offer me.

The Tea Palace

I entered the store and it is so wonderful that I really felt like I am in a library of tea. The store called Le Palais des Thes. First of all, when you entered, there will be various tea leaves that were ready to be smelled (you choose tea by smelling it!). These tea that come from China, Japan, Afrika, India and this is in fact only a glimpse of what this store could offered. Further back of the store, they have a whole lot many tea leaves, teapots and books about tea. Just what a person need to travel the world of tea.

From visiting this store, I could understand more about tea and decided to bring two distinct tea types from Afrika. From it, I also know that tea is beyond what traditionally be a medicine to increase condition of our health. For me, I mainly drink tea because it is refreshing in non-destructive way. The interesting part that lends itself to an increase in productivity is that compare to coffee, tea has more benefits.

Asian couple having coffee on home porch

First of all, I want to once again correct the assumption that caffeine in tea or coffee will help us during our work to be more productive by increasing alertness.

Peter Rogers, professor of biological psychology at the University of Bristol, after years of studying caffeine, he sees no evidence to suggest that it improves mental alertness.

However, if we know the right time to drink tea or coffee, a good effect will be obtained.

Professor Andy Smith, an expert in occupational health psychology at Cardiff University said that Caffeine is rightly prized by workers for combating fatigue, with a 2002 study of US Navy Seals showing the drug’s ability to override severe sleep deprivation. What caffeine does is to get you back on form. “We use the term ‘restoration of function’. The effect of caffeine is to restore your function closer to normal,” he says.

Therefore, caffeine can still has contribution to our performance to help us when we have fatigue at work. Additionally, hot beverages have numerous advantages. Here is some facts about contribution of Hot beverage in our workplace whether it is office work or home office.

  • 61% of employees feel that their employees cares about their well-being if they provide good hot beverage options such as in office coffee and tea.
  • 43% reported experiencing a positive effect on their work productivity.
  • 90% of decision makers and 85% of employees believe that quality coffee and tea can contribute to increased productivity and morale.

Both tea and coffee are a complex drinks. However, Tea could give better contribution in many ways.

First of all, tea contains Theanine, which researchers argue has a relaxing effect and has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Secondly, Randy Murray blog in his article “Simple Productivity Task of The Day:Make A cup of Tea” really point out a benefit of tea psychologically. He ’ve found that the process of making tea is also soothing and ritualistic, which is good for helping him slow down and regain focus. To learn simple ritual of creating tea in your office your could see it below.

Just This from Dave Caolo on Vimeo.

Additionally, you can better awake when you drink a cup tea compare to drink a cup of coffee . Yes! It seems not true because every time we drink coffee we can get the effect of waking up instantly right? It is apparently true that coffee will give you more instant effect. However, it turns out that drinking tea will give us longer wake up time because the way caffeine works in tea is different than coffee. When drinking tea, caffeine inside the tea will slowly be absorbed by our body and this will lead to long consumption of caffeine for our body which will keep us awake for quite a longtime.

Hence, those three (3) simple benefits that I tried to highlight (reduce blood pressure, psychologically soothing due to it’s ritualistic nature and better works of caffeine) will give more than enough  for you incorporate tea to your daily productivity agenda.

Deceiving Industry with Quality: How Customers could Give the right signal of Quality?

People in the business are busy defining the definition of Quality for them to be better at producing, delivering and satisfying for the benefits of customers. However, sadly, many customers still deceived by these terms of quality that people or customer of often said that if they want a high quality then there will have to incur high cost. “Good products means high cost”


As a customers, we see much too often that buying a quality product is about getting information from another people such as our friends, colleagues, or review of great product and then determined which one is quality product according to them and go to store and buy it.

What happen is sometimes people forget that quality products means that this product fulfilled customer’s satisfaction and that customer that is satisfied is actually is  “us” or “we” or in your case is “you”. At the beginning, quality is defined as those products that could best match and fulfilled customer’s needs. With this definition, I therefore sometimes feels awkward when I heard inside a store when a person tries to buy a high quality product merely for the sake that it is deemed good by the product label or a review from a reviewer body such as review in YouTube or any articles or professional reference magazines.

I am not trying to point out that these sources of information that tries to provide customers with the best possible references of current best high quality product is useless. It is indeed, the other way around. These references will be so much helpful for customers to know the average high quality product as perceived by the so called representation of customers such as YouTube, or some other reviewers online in internet or offline. However, the real customer is a single one of us that go into the store and buy a product. Therefore, when a customer go into a store, they have to realize that buying a high quality product means buying a product that best fit with their needs because high quality products as perceived by company that many company tries to capture is to make a product that best fit your needs.

when a customer go into a store, they have to realize that buying a high quality product means buying a product that best fit with their needs because high quality products as perceived by company that many company tries to capture is to make a product that best fit your needs.

Buying a product only because you think that the product have a high quality as labeled by reviewers or manufacturers is deceiving for a long term. It is because in the long run, if customers buying high quality products that actually they don’t really need, they unfortunately send a sign to the manufacturers that the product that they produced is indeed have a high quality as it sold good in the market. Thus, at the end, Industry will have a false impression of a good quality product.

As we can see in the picture above, we as a customer sometimes easy to see that the product is not conform with the level of quality that we should have, but not with the case with detecting and acknowledging that there are also some products that actually we don’t need and do not conform with our needs because they are just over-qualified.

chinese female shopping

Over-qualified products get noticed from the effects after we buy this kind of products. We will likely never use many features that it have because it seems so advance and cool in the advertisement but actually we never actually need it or inappropriate at time of use. Therefore, we will just usually store it in our house because it seems have a value and function that will benefited us at the time of buying, but when it comes to using the product there are simply no place and proper time to use it.

Think about a very nice high tech Hand phone you bought or a very nice dressed that you bought. How many feature in our Hand phone that we don’t actually need and how many nice dressed that we thought it will be nice to buy it and wear it to a huge event in which this event will never yet come.

Buying high quality product is to buy a product that best fit your need.

Because every company in the world will do anything to create product that best fit your need, then why you are buying a product that is under-qualified or over-qualified to fit your need. Sometimes illusion of advertisement will make us buy this over-qualified product and the sense of security of spending money will make us buy all the under qualified product that will not fulfill our needs.But the best to gift signal for companies all around the world to be better at reading customers’ real needs or quality level is to show them by buying only the products that we really need.


5 Steps to Personal Kaizen

Kaizen consists of the word Kai which means “change/make better” and Zen which means “good”. But when we put together the words into Kaizen, it expresses a deep meaning of continuous improvement or improving continuously that when applied to our daily life would have developed an increase of our productivity as well as quality of our daily result.


The secret of boosting our quality and productivity lies in the way Deming’s Circle or Continuous Improvement Circle is implemented in our daily life. Great companies have gained favor from using this philosophy and in this post, you will gain advantage by applying the concept of  Continuous Improvement Circle in your daily life.

Continuous Improvement Circle

Continuous Improvement Circle consists of the Circle of PDCA ( Plan – Do – Check – Act ). Here, the 5 key steps to your personal kaizen are uncovered:

1. Plan Your Activities

To begin with doing a Personal Kaizen in our daily life, planning activities is a very important step. In many Time Management concept, planning your activities has been the most crucial concept. One should try to plan yearly, monthly, weekly and daily. Yearly and monthly planning will comprise the most important events of the year and/or month, whereas weekly and daily planning will deal most of the time with operational issues and projects that we undergo at works or at home.

Thus, it is important to set at least 15 minutes everyday before you sleep to get to know your next day activities so that you can make sure that the following day will be filled with the activities that are actually meaningful not only for your boss or family but also to you.

2. Set Apart Things That You Do Regularly

Getting all the activities is just your first step to enter your personal kaizen circle. having acknowledged your activities, now you can separate those activities that happen most of the time either daily, weekly, monthly or yearly and those activities that are sporadically or spontaneously appear in your calendar.

Kaizen is continuous improvement. Thus the activities that appear regularly will subject to your Personal Kaizen. Setting apart these activities from others will make you focus on doing it effectively with more quality.

3. Create A Way to Make It Better and Standardize

The focus of Personal Kaizen is on small continuous improvement of life processes. Thus, after we know the activities that we do regularly, it is now time for us to seek for a way to do it more efficiently with the help of either doing it differently by using another methods or using technologies to enhance the time to finish the activities.

It is also important to set target for yourself to try to reach 3 activities accomplishment that is not regularly done and try to get it done everyday. This is for the purpose of evaluating your kaizen effort that will be explain in step 5 later.

4. Standardize

The Continuous Improvement Circle cannot be separated from Standardization in which it means that the improvement that we have done will be our current standard and will become a challenge for us to improve to a new and better state. In the future, our challenge is to beat the current standard that we set so that we progressively making improvement to the same activities that we do. Without standard, it is very easy to feel satisfy and perform below standard.

5. Evaluate yourself and back again to point 1 

Evaluating is an ultimate importance and since it is a circle of improvement, I will not call step 5 as the last step, but a precursor to step 1. Your effort now might have been paid off. You can prove if you have done the right and on the right track doing your Personal Kaizen by meeting one or more of these:

  • There are more activities that you can tackle in one day compare to before you apply personal kaizen
  • You become last stressful due to available slot time you have in your day for family, leisure, or your kids
  • You basically feel that you own your life and not your boss or your tasks

How we could increase the number of accomplishment of irregular and regular tasks everyday directly related with how good we are at kaizen. The better kaizen that we do to our regular tasks, the more we can tackle unpredictable tasks with the better quality result and with more freedom of time to do personal purpose activity such as leisure or go out with kids.

One final concern is that even you have already achieved and know the benefits of personal kaizen, I encourage you to do a circle of continuous improvement and not to stop only until step 5 or else the improvement that you have already done will be deteriorate.


4 Quick and Cheapest Ways to Effectively Learn about Kaizen

For some of us, Kaizen is not uncommon word. Some even live their day to day life by either promoting Kaizen all over the world or  living in the culture of Kaizen in their working company. In spite of this, many of us still have doubts due to confusion when being asked about the meaning of Kaizen and how they applied Kaizen to their job or personal life. Although some people know that Kaizen is a word that come from Japanese with the meaning of Continuous Improvement, they still questioning themselves about their correct understanding of Kaizen.

I have tried to bring a basic understanding of what really is the meaning of Kaizen by presenting in my other post about the Father of Kaizen himself delivering his point of view regarding the fundamental meaning of Kaizen. Additionally, in this post, 4 Quickest Ways for us to effectively learn about Kaizen will be given to enhance our understanding of where to go or what to do when we want to go about deepening the practical knowledge about Kaizen in our life.

1. Movies or Videos

The internet can be our friend and enemy, it can lead us to unproductive works that lead to procrastination or make us more productive by supporting us toward achieving our goals. In the internet, a website that I found most helpful to introduce us to the concept of Kaizen, history and application of Kaizen is YouTube. It can provide a quick overview into the main topic of Kaizen without really have to go through the hassle of going into detail.

2. Amazon

Sometimes people regards reading as a cumbersome ways of learning because of the flow of writing in books which typically more often do not directly go to the main points, but rather go around the introduction and story telling which bore people. But I cannot deny that the positives are more than negatives when it is coming to learning Kaizen through reading books. Kaizen is a philosophy that can be understand only by doing it or by learning from someone who has already doing it. Thus, the best way to learn from those who already began their Kaizen journey is for you to grab a book or just click in Amazon and read the story about the challenge  people try to implementing it and the great benefits of living in it.

3. Online Seminar

Website such as has been for decades trying to promote Lean which is also a form of Continuous Improvement to the world. Yes, for some of the Seminars we will need to take some money out of our pocket, but many good recording from online seminars as well as slideshow from the seminar are just there waiting for the interested people to take a shot and download them. This source is very good because Seminars are usually held for them who need to solve a problem in a particular areas of Kaizen. Therefore, the more people interested in attending the seminar in one topic, the more chances that the seminar will be held with that topic. And once the seminar is held, we can know what topic became the concern of Industry about Kaizen.

4. Apply it!!

To be successful people have to think big and start small. This is true and proven to works in all aspects of our life from learning to swim, riding bike, counting, until going to outer space. Understanding Kaizen could not be better learn by practicing it. It is hard to actually implement Kaizen in our office if there is no employees actually aware of it. But, one can always began from themselves. Personal Kaizen is a good start to learn about Kaizen. Simply begin your day with Deming Cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act so that you could improve and deepen the value of Kaizen in our life.