Improving the process of eating

Ben found himself taking too long to finish his meals. He believed the problem was with his process of eating. So he asked his friend, Alex, for help. Alex is an expert in process fine-tuning. After observing Ben on the dining table for a few meals, Alex presented his analysis. He shared with Ben the steps he observed in Ben’s process of eating.

Step 1: take the food. Around 2 seconds used
Step 2: put the food in the mouth. Around 1 second used
Step 3: chew the food. Around 20 seconds used
Step 4: swallow the food. Around 1 second used
Step 5: repeat step 1 to step 4

Alex explained that the time taken for each cycle was around 24 seconds, with step 3 taking the longest time, 20/24 = 83.33% of the entire process. Since the objective is for the food to go into the tummy, step 3 might not be necessary since step 4 is the crux to send the food into the tummy. Thus Alex recommended that Ben should remove step 3, and the new process would take only 4 seconds per cycle, which is a savings of 24 – 4 = 20 seconds, or (24 – 4)/24 = 83.33% improvement.

Ben tried the new process and found that it indeed shortened his time to finish his meals. But Ben soon found himself in the hospital. That day he learnt from the doctor the importance of chewing his food. He also learnt that certain steps in a process may seem to be inefficient or useless, exist for a reason.


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