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Bert, That Bloke From Maintenance June 21, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke.

Donald-DuckaA toothpaste factory had a problem. They sometimes shipped empty boxes without a tube of toothpaste inside. This challenged their perceived quality with buyers and distributors.

The CEO assembled his top people. They decided to hire an external engineering company to solve the empty boxes problem.

The project followed the usual process:  budget and project sponsor allocated, request for proposals, and third-parties selected.

Calvin-gots-an-IdeaSix months (and £2 million) later they had a fantastic solution – on time, on budget, and high quality. Everyone in the project was pleased.

They installed a high-tech precision scale.  Whenever a toothpaste box weighed less than it should: a bell sounded, lights flashed, and the line stopped.

Someone would walk over, remove the defective box, and press a button to re-start the line.

As a result of the new package monitoring process, no empty boxes shipped out of the factory.  With no more customer complaints, the CEO felt the £2 million was well spent.

Donald-Duck-LazyAt the end of the first month, the CEO reviewed the line statistics report and discovered the number of empty boxes picked up by the scale in the first week was consistent with projections, however, the next three weeks were zero!

The estimated rate should have been closer to a dozen boxes a day.

Puzzled, the CEO went down to the factory floor, viewed the part of the line where the precision scale was installed, and observed that just ahead of the £2 million solution sat a £20 desk fan blowing empty boxes off the belt and into a bin.

Mickey-OKHe found the line supervisor and asked, “What’s with the fan?”

“Oh, that,” the supervisor replied, “Bert, the bloke from maintenance, put it there because he got tired of walking over, removing the box, and re-starting the line every time the bloody bell rang.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source: e-mail from unknown author (sent by Granny1947)



1. wefalllaughing - June 21, 2014

HAHA! This is great!

nrhatch - June 21, 2014

Hope your day is filled with surprising solutions.

2. Don - June 21, 2014

🙂 Wonderful!

nrhatch - June 21, 2014

Nothing like a bit of ingenuity.

3. Crowing Crone - June 21, 2014


nrhatch - June 21, 2014

Necessity is the mother of invention . . . especially if we’re feeling lazy.

4. Silver in the Barn - June 21, 2014

This is so great. My husband runs a warehouse operation and he is going to love this!! Have a great weekend, Nancy.

nrhatch - June 21, 2014

Yay! Hope he gets a kick out of it, Barbara.

Silver in the Barn - June 21, 2014

He did! I heard him chuckle in the other room and mutter “So true!”

nrhatch - June 21, 2014


5. katecrimmins - June 21, 2014

Simple and cheap usually works best!

nrhatch - June 21, 2014

Yup. There are two kinds of people in this world ~ those who throw money at problems . . . and those who reach into their pockets for a paper clip, rubber band, or safety pin. 😎

katecrimmins - June 21, 2014

or duct tape!

nrhatch - June 21, 2014


6. granny1947 - June 21, 2014

Knew you would enjoy this one!

nrhatch - June 21, 2014

I did! Thanks, Kathy.

7. Maggie - June 21, 2014

😀 Nice!

nrhatch - June 21, 2014

I wonder if the CEO gave Bert, that bloke from maintenance, a big fat raise?

8. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - June 21, 2014

Love the thinking that goes with this one!

nrhatch - June 21, 2014

I can see this scenario happening in factories and office buildings around the globe.

Go Bert!

9. Val Boyko - June 21, 2014

Long live the Bert’s of this world showing us ingenuity and common sense!

nrhatch - June 21, 2014

Sometimes common sense is not so common. 😎

10. francisguenette - June 21, 2014

Oh, good grief – that’s hilarious and so typical. The simpliest solutions can often be the best.

nrhatch - June 21, 2014

Yes! Hmm . . . maybe CEO’s earn big bucks because they can waste £2 million without blinking an eye?

11. Jill Weatherholt - June 21, 2014

Great stuff, Nancy! I can always count on you for a laugh! 🙂

nrhatch - June 21, 2014

Thanks, Jill. I think you hit a homerun with Eric’s spotlight this week. And he has some new fans.

Jill Weatherholt - June 22, 2014

Thanks, Nancy! I think you’re right…how could anyone resist not following Eric after that post. 🙂

nrhatch - June 22, 2014

I don’t know, Jill. Eric’s a tough act to follow. 😎

12. livelytwist - June 21, 2014

Ah, what twenty bucks can solve . . . 🙂

nrhatch - June 21, 2014

Thinking outside the box pays dividends . . . especially when your scouting for empty boxes.

13. bluebee - June 21, 2014

Oh, this made me laugh so much 😀

nrhatch - June 21, 2014

Me too, BB. It reminded me of someone I used to work for who created problems out of thin air ~ I’d rather work for Bert.

14. 2e0mca - June 22, 2014

Reminds me of that apochryphal story from the days of the space race – The Americans designed at great cost a pen that would write upside down in zero gravity. The Russians used a pencil! Fun tale Nancy and how true of large companies everywhere 😉

nrhatch - June 22, 2014

Yes! Perfect example, Martin. A pencil is the $0.25 solution.

15. Pix Under the Oaks - June 22, 2014

Great job Bert!

nrhatch - June 22, 2014

Bert, Bert . . . he’s our man!
If he can’t do it, the peptides can!

Go team!

16. ericjbaker - June 22, 2014

But how will they get 2 million quid in next year’s budget if the problem is solved? Efficiency sets a very bad precedent!

nrhatch - June 22, 2014

Especially if you’re writing grants.

ericjbaker - June 22, 2014

Now that you mention grants… I have this silly walk I’ve been developing…

nrhatch - June 22, 2014

I think the Ministry of Silly Walks is looking for proposals.

17. diannegray - June 22, 2014

Wonderful! 😀

nrhatch - June 22, 2014

Bert would tip his hat to you if he saw what you’ve done to the RUC.

18. jannatwrites - June 23, 2014

I’d say that’s working smarter, not harder!

nrhatch - June 23, 2014

Me too! It’s great when shortcuts allow us to be lazy efficiently.

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