The Hair Dressing Manufacturing Plant

I just had my haircut in QB House today. It is not my first time in these 10 min haircut kinda shop, but this visit (together with my training as a Manufacturing Engineer) suddenly changed my perspective of QB House.

It felt like I was walking into a Japanese Manufacturing Plant with Lean Manufacturing, One Piece Flow, 5S, Kanban, Six Sigma, written all over the walls of the approx 3m by 5m QB House shop.

It looks like they got the Value Stream Map all figured out and has removed all the “Muda” waste in the Value Chain – Getting your Hair Cut in 10 Minutes in Clean n Fashionable way.

First, they have their customers purchasing tickets to cut their hair so that the hairdressers can focus on the Real Value Added Activity – Hair Dressing. In fact, the hair dressers only do 3 things: Greet their customers, Hair Dressing, and tidy up the place after each haircut. A continuous One Piece Flow. No time and resources wasted.

Second, they have their customers sit down in a line (in order of sequence), like a line of raw materials waiting to be manufactured. Family members and friends are not allowed to be in the shop, and their customers have to be sitting in the line of sequence. A perfect Kanban (signal device) system which signals to their hairdressers how many WIP (work-in-progress) they have.

Third, they have their “workshop” very well designed for 5S. The compartment for sterilizers, the broom within reach to clean up the hair on the floor, followed by a vacuum cleaner (that is very well designed into the hair dressing table) to suck all the hair on the ground probably into a maintain the super clean “workshop”. Probably lots of DFM (Design for Manufacturing) concepts incorporated.

Forth, they have sensors even on the chair that you are sitting on when you get your haircut. I was told that it is used to measure the time taken to cut your hair, so the system will probably be able to generate a control chart to make sure that the manufacturing process is in control, and most importantly, within specifications – 10 minute cut.

I am actually impressed by these Japanese companies so focussed on Lean, providing a truly different hair cutting experience. Having said that, I do think at times the ‘customers’ should not be treated as ‘products’. I am quite surprised that they do not even allow the parents of a kid (probably less than 5 years old) to sit with him inside the shop. I think that is really a step too far in their “Lean Concept”.

Anyhow, for the Manufacturing Dudes, you can pay QB a visit. I am sure there is something we can learn there.


Virtual vs. Real

An interesting news today: a lady is filing for a real life divorce after discovering her husband has an affair in Second Life virtual world.

“It may have started on-line but it existed entirely in the real world and it hurts just as much,” she said. “His was the ultimate betrayal. He had been lying to me.”

Many people indulge in Computer games, because it takes them away from reality, and allow them to live in their fantasy world, where they are allowed to be powerful wizards, warlords, football player, football manager, or even just to live a human life without the constraints or expectations of the real world.

But today we are seeing people spending so much time or so emotionally involved in the virtual world such that the virtual world has invaded the real world. We are creating another world of our own, where the rules are different, and importing these rules into the real world.

1) GTA – People bringing the game to Real Life. Robbing cars, killing people

2) WOW – People’s life invaded by the powerful character they own so much so that they feel powerless and useless in Real Life.

3) Second Life – People filing divorce and sending virtual spies into Virtual world

So what is real? Reminds me of Matrix part one. Are we spending too much time in the virtual world? What if the real world isnt a pleasant place to live in for some? But what if Virtual World can provide these people with lasting happiness? Is that possible? If yes, what will happen to the real world? Should we live in the Matrix?

Lyon – The City of Light

Lyon is the 3rd largest city in France. If you want a very relax trip, I would recommend a 3 day visit at Lyon. But if you have limited time, I think 2 days in Lyon is quite good as well.

For first time visitors, the first place you should go is the Visitor’s Center at Bellecour Metro. From here, you can purchase 3 day pass (39Euro)  or 2 day pass (29Euro) or 1 day pass(19Euro). They call it the LCC. With this pass, you can take unlimited public transport, unlimited entries to most musuems, one guided tour at the old town, and a boat ride along the Saone river.

With this pass, I would definitely recommend the guided tour at Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon). This is a long walk in the old town, but the tour guide will tell you a lot of the history of Lyon. And also show us some of the secret walkways, called the traboules. There are so much history in this place, and it is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

Here is a picture in the old town. Notice the tall towers, as Lyon is known also for its silk.


And you can take a tram up the Fourviere hill, where Lyon was founded 43BC by the Romans. There you will see the Basillica. A very nice building. And from here, you can see the Lyon city. It is beautiful both in the day and at night. I would also recommend to walk down the hill. It is a very nice relaxing walk with very nice scenery. Below is a picture of the Basillica

For the musuems, I would recommend the Art Musuem at Hotel De Ville Metro Station. They have quite a number of good sculptures & paintings. Here is a picture of an enormous painting.

Besides the Art Musuem, I would recommend the Musuem of the Contemporary Arts near the Parc de la Tete. Some of the art pieces are very interesting, but I must add some are pretty crude too. Anyway, after the musuem, you can have a nice relaxing stroll on the park. Also, the architecture here is very different (more modern).

Below are 2 pictures taken in the morning markets. I find the art market very nice, and the cheese stall very unique.


Here is a picture of the city at night. Apparently the tower is a prototype for the Eiffel tower. The church along the river is St Johns Church. This is also a place not to be missed if you visit Lyon.

For more pictures, check out this link.


Looks like Change has been the buzzboard in the news lately, and in my blog too. 🙂 

But mostly I have been focussed on the news in USA. Closer at home, there has been cries for Change too. Recently in Malaysia, racist politics, police arresting peaceful demonstrators, have been dominating the headlines and blogs. And there are pockets of Malaysians yearning for Change! And many question: When will Change come? It took the USA 400 years of history to have an extremely talented minority to become president.

How about Malaysia? When will we have a Prime Minister who is talented, intelligent and passionate for Malaysian progress? I am confident that Malaysia is not short of such talent. 

Below is a short paragraph from Lee Kuan Yew’s memoirs, then predicting the problems Malaysia would face:

Malaysia – to whom does it belong? To Malaysians. But who are Malaysians? I hope I am, Mr Speaker, Sir. But sometimes, sitting in this chamber, I doubt whether I am allowed to be a Malaysian. This is the doubt that hangs over many minds, and … [once] emotions are set in motion, and men pitted against men along these unspoken lines, you will have the kind of warfare that will split the nation from top to bottom and undo Malaysia.

Here is an article from Malaysia Today article,

We Malaysians have been dulled into a sense of complacency for far too long by the propaganda that change is risky, that the time-tested Barisan Nasional leadership knows what is best for the people, and that ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ is the only way to go.

Below is a paragraph from another article in Malaysia Today,

Obama’s success should inspire us not to repeat history, but to go against it. Obama’s struggle against the tide of time makes him a man of our times; and let us hope that for so many other countries in Asia that same untimeliness will prevail as well. We can start by exercising our will for change, and by saying ‘No, we will not wait four hundred years before we dream of a better world today.’

Will we see Change coming to Malaysia soon enough?

Armistice Day – 11 November

11 November is a National Holiday in France. It is called the Armistice Day.

Armistice day is celebrated in France in memory. It commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning – the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”

Basically, this day is the end of World War 1. This day, at 11 o clock, there will be a moment of silence for 2 minutes to remember those who fell during the world. An estimate of 8 million people was killed in World War 1.

Yes, YOU CAN Change the World!

I am not a fan of Wang Lee Hom, but Musicman 2008 at Singapore Stadium was quite an eye opener. It is because this is my first time at a live concert (and blogging abt it 1 week later). The deafening sound system, light effects, and of course Mr. Wang’s powerful voice, amazing music talent and some showmanship was very entertaining and impressive.

But what struck me most was the song – 改变自己 (my first time listening to this song, even though it prob was released some time ago). It is indeed a very refreshing song written by Wang Lee Hom himself. Amidst all this US Election Craze, I think this song is very meaningful and has become one of my favourite songs. Basically, the theme is telling the new generation of youths that we can change the world by changing ourselves. Yes, We CAN! For the lyrics of the whole song, click here (Chinese), here (English).

Here is the music. For the MTV, goto the link here. For some reason, it cannot be played on my blog. Anyhow, love the lyrics and the music, the tune. Very refreshing and meaningful. Enjoy.

Here is a video of Singapore Musicman 2008 singing 改变自己. Thought of including this video to give you feel of the electrifying atmosphere in the concert.

By the way, the video was not filmed by me. I was sitting too far away to see the performance so up close.

UEFA Cup St Ethienne vs. Rosenberg 3-0

This is my first experience, watching football live at a Stadium. With the huge generosity of St Ethienne Tourism Board, I had a free ticket to watch UEFA Cup Round Robin between the home team (which I now support) St Ethienne against Rosenberg. The best part is, I was given the VIP seat, where the view is excellent plus they serve wine and food before, half time and full time! What more can I ask?

The fans, was amazingly loud! And yes, St Ethienne has a great history in football. It has won 10 French League titles & 6 French Cups. But of course, it is not doing very well now. Well, here is a video of the atmosphere in St Ethienne’s home ground – Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Awesome-ly loud & happening! The fans were singing and jumping together. It was a fantastic atmosphere.

And here is a video of the 2nd goal. It was offside plus handball though. And it is caught on my Video! Nevertheless, it was a GOAL!