Chapters 8 - 12
Real Work, Measurement, Lead Manufacturing and Problem Solving

Jearlson deposits Marcus and Grand Alf on the roof of the mighty Robotek organisation, where Mercury, a small, grey but highly intelligent factory manager, shows them the new unit production halls. Here they learn that appearing busy and achieving real outcomes are not the same, and they learn the six questions that create the conceptual framework that guide all the interconnected and complex processes in the factory. Mercury explains that any kind of workplace - factory, office, shop and so on could benefit from the kind of thinking and disciplined approach used by Robotek.

As they observe the processes working they learn the eight rules of lean manufacturing and the five rules of standardisation.

Mercury then takes them to meet Delia in the robot repair centre where they learn key problem solving and action planning techniques.

“It all looks like it is working fine,” confirmed Mercury, “but looks are deceiving. Processes always look like they are working fine because workers always appear busy. Ask them about their day and they will tell you they are ‘busy’. You seldom hear anyone say, ‘I do not have much to do today so I think I will have a bit of a rest’.”
“If we get a positive answer to six key questions, then this part of the factory, ” Mercury waved his hand to indicate the operations within sight, “is delivering the outcomes we require. The questions are ...”

“Would it be alright if I explained by asking you a question?” Mercury enquired. Marcus shrugged acceptance and Mercury asked, “What defines beauty in a Humanoid face?”
This was not really the question Marcus was expecting from a variant explaining how to make production systems work, but so far nothing had been what he expected.

“What makes you think common sense is common?” shot back Mercury. “Or flaws are obvious even to those who are trained to spot them?” Marcus looked a little sheepish but was still unconvinced.

Delia reinforced the point, “It‘s surprising how many organisations have the means at hand to make rapid improvements but relegate the tools required to very narrow situations ...”