For this post we take you on a factory tour.
As we enter the building we notice stacks of raw materials, rows of partially completed product, and near what looks like the shipping department, lines of finished goods.
It’s a busy place as I am able to count a hundred workers in the building. Its obvious that a division of labor and mass production techniques are being utilized. We notice several stations where raw materials are used to manufacture an assembly that will eventually become the final product. Additional parts are in piles next to workstations down the line where employees attach them to the assembly. Completed products are then taken away for finishing.
At the beginning of the finish process, a worker stamps the company logo and the name of the shipper on the product. This latter step saves time when the finished goods have to be loaded.
The finishing step includes applying paint and putting the product through a drying process to make the paint adheres to its surface. There’s a team of painters doing their best to keep up with the units ready for them.
One of the shippers comes to the back door and wants to speak with the owner. He wants to know whether his shipment is ready. The owner tells him it is, and the shipper calls to some men to come and start loading The shipper complains that business is down because there are too many people getting into the same business. Most of his contracts involve hauling goods overland to the nearest port for shipment overseas and these newcomers are undercutting his rates. He may have to lay off some of his crew.
After he is done talking to the shipper, the owner has a conversation with one of his supervisors. They discuss how to dispose of defective product. The customer’s inspectors at the port will certainly reject any product with marks or dents. To avoid having a whole shipment rejected because of a few defects, the owner has located a customer who re-sells damaged goods. The owner is pleased that this customer is willing to pay 40% of the wholesale price of each unit. That’s certainly better than throwing them away.
When the daily shift comes to a close, the workers wash up and head for home. The owner and his supervisors do an inventory to determine how many shipments will be complete for the week. Even though production is good the owner is worried. It won’t be long before his outgrows the factory and will have to look for a new place. That means more loans and dealing with a fluctuating interest rate, but this is the life of a business owner.
Where am I?
The main pottery production facility in central Athens, summer 451 B.C.