THE FAT CONTROLLER | ‘China Trip’ -­ August, 2012.

Ironlak’s Founder and Company Director lays down his second instalment on our goings-on in the Orient.

In August I hopped a plane to Hong Kong to head back to our factory. I only had five days for this trip and a pretty healthy list of things to get through. However, I was heading back to the factory feeling a bit better about production than I have in about a 12 month period.

As I mentioned last time I wrote, it has been an up and down 12 months for us and it’s really forced us to take a close look at our business. We had to clean house with some production and quality control staff because they weren’t getting it done. It feels like we’ve got a good team handling production again and we’re finally back on track. I’ve been really happy with the product that’s come out of our factory over the past three months.

TUES, TheFatController, Ironlak

So, I arrive in Hong Kong and it’s the middle of summer, humidity is up there and it’s hot as fuck. I finally get to my pick-up spot and our chemist (aka the Little General) has his phone off so I’m stuck waiting around for nearly an hour before I’m offered some relief in his air-conditioned car. We head off to the factory and shoot the shit for the next several hours.

We do some quick product inspections on those things we’ve been keeping a close eye on over the past few months with our new team in place, and everything is looking good. We test a couple of cans of chrome, gold and silver to see where we sit and what we can improve on. Coverage and dry time all looks good, but the spray could be wider, so we get back in the lab and make some adjustments. In the evening we throw them in the freezer to chill overnight (about 12 hours) to prepare them for cold weather simulation.

That night we head out with the management team, have some fine local cuisine and belt back a few beers while we talk shit and catch up. Truth be told though; TUES mentioned last trip that he prefers the food whipped up by our cook at the factory and I totally understand – a good cook combined with the fact we grow just about all our produce on site is a winning combination.

The next day we inspect the progress on a new filling line which we’re installing at the moment and spend some time working through things with the local government to ensure we’re compliant with all the dangerous goods and safety regulations, as well as drinking a lot of green tea. Probably not that much exciting stuff to report on here from a writer’s perspective.

Towards the end of the trip we drove back to Shenzhen, which is a long and painful drive. I arrive back about midnight, tired as hell, but determined to get up at sparrows and try to get a piece done early in the morning before peak hour.

I woke up probably a little after 6am, showered up, sorted my six-pack of cans and headed about ten minutes down the street, only to realise the spot I wanted wasn’t possible. So I walked a little further to find a petrol station under construction with frontage to the main street. I start marking up and filling. Thankfully there aren’t too many people on the street yet and those that are just look a bit confused by what’s going on. I think I only painted for about 10-15 minutes. As I’m taking my photos, a businessman walks past and gives me the thumbs up. I respond in Mandarin with “You think it’s beautiful?” he turns, nods, and says yes. I break out and head to McDonalds for some heart stopping breakfast before the flight home.

I only managed to get one piece done on this trip between all the work stuff, so I don’t have many photos to share, but I thought you might be interested to hear what’s been in the works anyway. –TheFatController.

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