Hard Work vs Smart Work You would have seen this happening in schools and colleges. Some students would be studying almost all the time. They will just scrape through in the exams. And some would never go near the book till the study holidays. They would plan their time, select the portions and focus on their presentation skills. These guys would score much more than the first group. People would blame the education system, the standards of valuation and several other factors not realising the difference between hard work and smart work. In the 70s and 80s they all preached that hard work is the only route to success. But now they have understood that it is smart work that does the trick. Hard workers do not mind working for long hours. Whereas smar works constantly think various answers to the question, “Why should I suffer like this? Is there not a better way to do this?” But for these people and but for this line of thinking we would still be writing our accounts in large calico bound ledgers using fountain pens. Computers would not have come in. The progress in every field is the direct result of ‘search for a better way’ by the smart workers. It was one of the largest soap factories in <st1:country-region><st1lace>Japan</st1lace></st1:country-region>. Everyday millions of soap cakes came out of the factory. It was a popular brand among Japanese. Once the company received an unusual customer complaint. The customer had bought their soap at the local super market. When he went home he found that the soap box was empty. The company sent him a soap along with a letter of apology. Then it went deep into the problem. ‘How come empty boxes go out of the factory?’ The engineers reviewed the manufacturing and packing process. In a huge conveyour thousands of soap boxes were coming out. In another conveyor perfectly synchronised to the first, the soap cakes were coming out. A t the crucial point, a machine lifted the cake, put it into a box and sealed it. The machinery did an excellent job. But about one in ten thousand cases it let go a box without the soap cake in it. The engineers found out that it may take a lot of money to correct this minor lapse. Now their objective was to identify the black sheep – in this case the box without the soap – and eliminate it from the production line. The company was doing very well. And there were many brilliant engineers in it. So they brainstormed the problem and came out with a fail-proof solution. They installed a huge X-ray machine which was connected to two large computer screens. Two skilled workers were appointed to constantly monitor the movement of the soap boxes. As soon as they found out the empty box they would throw that out of the assembly line. This arrangement cost several lakhs of Rupees but ensured that no empty box reached the customer. A function was organised to congratulate the engineering team. The engineers made a presentation to the shop-floor workers about the working of the monitoring system. After about an hour of technical explanation the Chief Engineer sat down in his seat exhausted. A worker raised his hand and was asked to speak. “Sir we could have solved the problem in a much simpler, cheap way.” “Really? Can you explain?” “Sure. We can instal a powerful blower, a huge fan, near the conveyor which carries the packed boxes. The air coming from the fan will simply blow away the empty boxes leaving the other boxes undisturbed. There would be no need for an X-ray equipment, two computers and to cap it all, constant monitoring by two skilled workers.” Now that’s smart work. We should work hard like the engineers; but also think smart like this worker.