Safety Pin Story Explains Manufacturing Efficiency

Recently, I worked with a CEO of an organisation on delivering a story of a new formed strategy of the business. The new strategy was designed as a response to several changes in the organisation.

One of the change was, all steps of manufacturing their product, a semiconductor chip from design, conceptualisation to final test and assembly used to be under their domain but there had been an announcement and moving forward different countries will be responsible for different steps.

Say for example, there are steps 1 to 9 in manufacturing the product. In the past the team in Singapore did all 9 steps but moving forward they were only responsible for 8 and 9. It was an important step to explain in the story so we used the example of a safety pin manufacturing from the first chapter of Adam Smith’s  Wealth of Nations and this is how we narrated it.

The leader narrating this took a safety pin ( a large one ) showed it to the audience and said,

The way for the business to win is to break the production of goods in to tiny tasks where each task or step can be undertaken by a factory worker. The process of making a safety pin  involved 12 different steps, and if one person does all 12 steps, production will be very low. But, if you get one person to do step one, and another person to do step two and so on, production can increase tremendously. And indeed, this is a great example of efficiency and the reason for the Industrial Revolution.

This indeed was a great way for the leader to storytell why the change took place.


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