Monday, May 23, 2011
and that is how industrialisation took place
May be its just me, but every time I tour a big factory and look at the intricate network of machinery in perfect coordination, I just can't help but marvel. And I try to imagine myself at a point where I can put perfect sense to the workings of those machines. It even gets better, since I have this childhood ambition of becoming an industrialist, while the guide is explaining away what this machine does and what that machine does, I am far away in a far off pace in my mind wondering just how I could put a perfect price to that maze of machines and how I would determine that this, and not that machine is the better one for my industry.
One day the day-dreaming caught up with me, and I decided, I was going to mechanize, with disastrous results. At that time I was selling eggs, most of them to supermarkets, packed in nice little plastic trays with a green label. So, I decided, since I sell eggs, I can also sell their mothers, the chickens. And the plan was hatched. However, unlike eggs which come ready to sell, chicken need some preparation, so to say, if they will be sold through the same outlets.
True, I knew how to use knife on a chicken, but then how about the parts. Who even comes up with those names, like drumsticks, breast; on a chicken? So I go buy a packed chicken from a nearby supermarket to start my study of packed birds. That was lesson one. More were in store for me. I also realized that a knife alone could not suffice. I needed more machinery. Yeah. Machinery. The puzzle was unraveling. Then the visits to machine show rooms began, and you should have seen me, trying to explain to bewildered machinery sales people what I needed to cut up chicken ,and mostly getting blank stares as if to say, go disturb some one else. Haven't you ever heard of knives!
After several searches, I decided on my ensemble of machinery and where to procure them. I needed a butcher knife (you know what for) a tray sealing machine, a work table and a deep freezer. A few other consumables would also be necessary. So I got to work. Due to the fact that I couldn't head hunt from established enterprises that did what I was planning, (salary and other money issues) I decided to do it myself.
The receiving clerk at the supermarket didn't know whether to be horrified or to laugh. So she decided to carefully ask me what each part was while checking it off my order and delivery note. She was even kind enough to educate me how breast for chicken actually means breast (not breast and back) and, Sir could you compare what you have just delivered with this from storage? I had no answer. But I was taking mental notes fast. I took quite a beating that day, and I did my best to be brave and learn about meats and chicken portioning, from a supermarket receiving clerk. My next delivery was more acceptable and several orders later, I had some one helping me part time from the established competitors.
I have learned a lot since then. I have also found outsourcing such a life saver. At some time we were churning out delicious local chicken gizzard at a good rate. There was this client who instructed the supermarket orderlies to notify him every time we delivered so he could buy the gizzards before any one. We were stuck with more gizzard orders from the store than any other chicken portion. We had to explain both in writing and in person that gizzards come from slaughtered chicken and each chicken has just one, and a pack of gizzards means about twelve chickens gave their lives so the pack can be complete, therefore we can not just slaughter chicken for gizzard only. Orders had to be complementary. That was a challenge even intense mechanization couldn’t take away. But my awe for machinery and production lines has not gone away yet.