Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Once around and back

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‘bringing it around today, closing the circle from Dover through the Netherlands, back via Hull and Derby.  It’s been a good trip, both business and leisure, but a lot of miles to cover in ten days.

The line across the North Sea is an ‘at sea’ segment aboard the Pride of Hull, one of two P&L overnight ferries running the eight-hour journey between Rotterdam and England.  ‘not a cheap way to cross, but one of the most comfortable.

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‘more cruise ship than car ferry, the ship offers cover bands, a pizza bar, a piano lounge and casino.  Movies are shown until the wee hours in two theaters (£6 each), a surprisingly good brasserie dinner and buffet breakfast round out meals.  The bedding is a bit thin, but the crossing was smooth, and we arrived in Hull (2017 City of Culture) in thick fog at sunrise.

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A couple of hours to clear customs then we’re off through the rolling Yorkshire countryside, destination Derby.  Set along the River Derwent, it grew from origins in a Roman market town and is today a rail hub and center for transport and engine manufacturing.

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Our overnight was in the self-styled ‘Oldest Marriott In The World’ outside of town, the site of a 2005 climate summit attended by George Bush.  The hotel is s comfortable pile of weathered stone and stately passages set among well-tended golf greens and geometric box gardens.

We were in town to set up our product packaging and sterilization services, which will be done locally. Our company produces coated product at Colworth, simple dip processing inside of a clean tent that was installed and DSCF4205validated a few weeks ago. Finished goods are sent on north to Derby, and we needed process, pricing, and compliance audits of the local service provider to finalize the arrangements.

It’s really an impressive setup: tens of millions of individual products of all sorts pass through the facility each year, and each has it’s own materials, processes, labels, and standards that all must be met on-site.  Keeping things sorted and flowing is a huge logistical job, and there are impressive tracking and scheduling systems in place that make it all come together.

It shows how a business can grow – ‘good for us to keep a goal of hitting these volumes and standards as well.

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