Gold Dust – How Dust Diving Saves Money

Gold is a very soft material. When gold hits or rubs against another object some of the gold actually comes off. Jewelry markets in India have considerable foot traffic going through their stores. On top of that the majority of all the products are all gold. Because of the high amount of gold and all the handling, a floor sweeper position is a highly sought after position in India. The sweepers will collect the dust and save it. Over the course of the year the sweepers save the dust and sift it for gold pieces. The fragments are tiny and not worth much but of the course of a year they can save as much as a quater ounce. And gold going for nearly $1000 an ounce, that is very good money for a sweeper in India.

This is a great example of how the free market eliminates some inefficencies but why wouldn’t all companies look for their “gold dust?” I did a line design on a computer refurbishment line one time and we did two designs. The first design was a typical engineering design based on layout and available equipment. The inital thought was that the repair process was already efficent and that we could get gains on the way we transport the product and the layout of the work cell. We estimated we would get about 30% improvement to the bottom line due to efficeny gains.

In our second design we went gold mining in the “dust” or the details of the process. We found that if we were to get rid of just the 7 wastes (transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, overprocessing, overproduction, defects) we found that we could make a 60% improvement to the bottom line due to efficency gains.

Go gold mining and you might just find your gold. Have you been gold mining? Where have you been gold mining?