Simon Carr: The Kitchen Capitalist

Share
Related Topics

The story so far: the author has sold his house to finance a manufacturing project in the hope of making a small fortune to finance his old age...

It's a different world out there where things actually happen. Vans. Forklifts. Barcodes. Authorisation numbers. Do I feel the pall descending on you too? We (by "we" I mean "arts graduates") don't call it the real world. There's rock-all Keats in roundabouts and business parks. And those amenity trees aren't trees in the way we know them. The spreading What-Not over the village thingy. No, it's a new world, and you need to be brave to face it.

My satellite navigation guides me round the new link roads. I follow her voice and take the first, second or third exit, sometimes for days. Streets unwind in front of me like a seriously tedious argument.

News. The goods land in Southampton today. They may already be there. They will be transported to a bonded warehouse in Hounslow. The Bills of Lading have been sent to Birmingham. By some managerial magic (as yet unknown to me) the goods clear customs and arrive on a pallet in my new mail fulfilment house, appointed on Friday.

Considering the project is, technically, live this week - that appointment represents a triumph of Just In Time management. Very late in the piece I realised I simply didn't have the mental, emotional or physical resources to process 25 orders a day. Taking credit card details. Writing out addresses. Carrying parcels down to the post office. Waiting in queues. Especially as my secret hope, my deep and secret hope is that we might be moving a hundred orders a day. No, putting a hundred parcels a day in the post is a full-time job, and I've already got two of them.

So I Googled "mail order fulfilment" and sent out descriptions to a dozen addresses. The responses came tumbling in, and as is often the way, only one company emerged. The new business director did something very important; he adjusted his pricing when I asked him to. He moved it around a bit and asked for this and that, but he lowered his price to what I need it to be. It's not the money - though of course it's the money - but more the sense that I'm not expected to fit all my systems and operations into his systems and operations.

Their professionalism is amazing, frankly, here in the Burgess Hill Business Park. I created my own warehouse-dispatch operation once (birthday issues of The Times, you may remember). But this is how it's really done. Everything on pallets. Everything numbered and located by Cartesian co-ordinates. A "pick list" is distributed to pickers and brought into the dispatch bench to be packed.

And look, there's poetry in it, for those with eyes to see. Because they pick and pack, the pickers and packers; then the trackers track what's been picked and packed and the data-capturing programme captures the picked, packed parcels as they are tracked out into the world. It's beyond me, I don't want to do any of that. I'm not sure how keen the pickers and packers are, either, but that's their business.

simoncarr75@hotmail.com

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Ecommerce Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity is available to ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This world leading specialist i...

Recruitment Genius: Regional Support Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This role's responsibility also include operat...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A banner supporting the NO vote in the upcoming referendum hangs from the offices of the Greek Finance Ministry on Wednesday  

Greece crisis: The Troika’s inflexibility on austerity amounts to nothing short of an attempted coup

Caroline Lucas
Chancellor George Osborne will present his post-election budget on 8th July (Getty)  

Osborne’s Budget will touch on social reform – but he’s no Lloyd George

Donald Macintyre
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy