Thursday, November 23, 2017

So what is your business?

It was early 1980 and the Swiss watch industry was on its knees. Caught unprepared by the onslaught of the battery revolution, watch factories were closing and brands disappearing like never before.
A young American executive of a large and famous advertising agency was assigned with the task of creating a campaign for a  handful of Swiss brands. Trying to impress them with his knowledge of market trends, he addressed them with a rather patronising opening line: "So, gentleman, how is the watch business?". The room went quiet. Encouraged, he then turned  to the Rolex director and repeated the same question. The Rolex guy replied, "Watch business? We have no idea. Rolex is not in the watch business but luxury goods business".
And this is precisely why Rolex not only survived but came out of the crisis stronger than any other Swiss watchmaker.  Unlike others, without any doubt, they knew what business they were in.
A couple of days ago we reached yet another milestone. After 10 months of negotiations, preparation work, servicing, packing, shipping and a million other hurdles, our 9-tonne baby arrived from Switzerland: A Kern Pyramid Nano 5 axis milling machine. It took four teams of professionals to move 3 large crates form Port Botany to Brookvale. The size of this machine is simply frightening. But, hey, in less than 10 hours, the machine itself, plus electrical cabinets, coolant refrigerators, hydraulic pumps and filtering units  were moved into position. The mill is now ready and awaiting final assembly by two German engineers who are expected in February.  Before that, Josh and Tyler will travel to Germany for training. And if all goes well, in about 6 months from today, our Pyramid Nano will be finally turned on and we’ll be ready to start LEARNING how to use the machine.
To paraphrase Rolex: we are no longer in the watch business but in the business of learning how to shape metal at sub-micron level. The road will be bumpy, the journey will be long, and the destination is still unknown, but we are loving it.
Photos below: the arrival of the load, Kern PYNO partially assembled (about half of the actual machine!).
Our special thanks goes to lovely Melody who solved the unbelievably hard problem of organising the 20-tonne forklift; to Anthony from Headland Machinery for project management, for JPM Cranes skates team for their magic, Mike the ‘clean up guy’ who removed tonnes of packaging wood in one hour, and our comrade rebelde Peter Tibbels from 1066 Steel who came in to offer his encouragement at a time when it was needed the most.
For those who are interested in more details: PYNO video

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