Working Smart verses Working Hard.


The saying that you often heard, “Work Smart so you Don’t have to Work hard” is easier said than done. What does Work Smart means anyway?

Some people perceive working smart to the ability to dodge work but yet gets the work done at the end of the day. If not dodging the whole work entirely, dodging 50% of the work is good enough for them. Are these lazy people? Well, not exactly. Maybe they work twice as hard to finish twice as early.

If you have been working in a factory environment before, you will be able to observe what working smart means. They train their workers to achieve targets within the minimum time with very innovative production methods that only very smart people can come up with. The fact that I said they work twice as hard means that they are able to do the work of 2 workers in the same amount of time. That is what working smart means. More work from less effort.

Work smart takes research. When I joined a semiconductor factory many years ago as a technician with a team to set up a new plant, we came up with many work smart ideas that saved the company thousands of dollars. We designed and fabricated our own gadgets to shift in those gigantic machines which would have cost the company a substantial sum if they were to hire a special vehicle to shift those machines. However, these are crude methods of working smart. The real work smart methods started when the plant was ready for production.

There was a team that was called “production specialist” These highly trained specialist are experts in producing the most amount in the shortest time with the lowest rejects and their target is always zero rejects.

All the new production workers were put through their paces and timed precisely with stop watches for their speed in producing or assembling certain parts in a semiconductor. They experimented with the sitting positions, the placing of the machines that were used, the location of the materials that will be used, the lighting and all the details so minor that we as outsiders would think that they are really overdoing things. Their explanation was, if they can slice of 1 second in each procedure by just changing their sitting positions or the placing of the machines, they will almost be able to double production output. It sounds kind of far fetched and theoretical, but the fact sheets does show remarkable improvements after 3 months of intensive test and experiment.

Some argued that the results does not truly demonstrate that it was because of their work smart ideas, rather it was due to the fact that the new workers have adapted and have already gotten used to what they have been doing daily so naturally they have picked up some speed. It became a very subjective argument, but whatever it is, there must be some truth in what these work smart production specialist do or else I doubt the Company will be willing to spend so much in employing them.