Today, I had to drive to return a rental car at Newark Airport and saw
an example of what might be “non root cause” thinking in action. As I
approached the airport on the highway, there were signs for three
separate airport entrances – none of which was specified as being rental
car return, as most airports do. I probably should have assumed it was
the “Main Terminals” exit, but I didn't and ended up in the wrong area.
As I was driving around the airport, I saw no signs that said anything
about rental car return. What I did see, every quarter mile or so, was
a giant sign that asked “Are You Lost?” with what looked like a bus
stop. Apparently, if you're lost, you are supposed to stop your car and
refer to the map in the bus stop. I think there was even a phone to
call for help.
I have never seen that at any other airport. If the Port Authority
somehow realized the airport was confusing, I don't understand why some
better signage wouldn't have been a better (and cheaper) solution to the
problem. Expecting people to pull over and consult the “bus stop” seems
like a bit much.
How many times in your factory have you seen people create an
overly-complex solution to a problem that could have been solved more
cheaply and elegantly? Before relying on technology, do you try the
“low tech” solution?
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