Ironlak Quality Control – Yesma and Tues in China for Business and Pleasure
Check out photos from Ironlak’s founder’s recent trip to China for a quality control check in at their factory. Joined by quality controller Tues halfway through the trip, the two squeezed in a bunch of graffiti. Yesma narrates below:
Two months ago I went to China for my (more or less) monthly trip to check up on shit and make sure people are wearing the right hats and things are functioning as they should now be. We were also implementing some new quality control (QC) processes to tighten things up and work on some product tweaks.
I dragged my brother along for the first half of the trip. He’s our stock/ inventory manager and it’s always good to have some company. Tuesy joined me for the second half of the trip. He’s our QC guy – the last line of defence before product makes its way to your hands.
Life in China can be pretty simple – in a good way. I can’t ever remember bringing someone along for a trip to China who didn’t have a great time. My younger bro being the exception after he drank too much and paid for it the next day.
Nowadays we basically eat, sleep and shit on premises at the factory. It’s where we live; we shower out of a bucket of water and a scoop. We take our dumps in a hole and we eat with all of our factory staff in the food hall. The food’s pretty spicy so you need to be able to man up and eat a shitload of chilli in your food. Of course you are always cleansing your palate with some Tsingtao (China’s foremost beer) and a few ‘gumbei’s’ (bottom’s up/toasts) amongst friends at the table.
We had a few meetings with key staff at our factory and ran through our QC and production process. We’ve put a lot more steps in place to ensure that the raw materials delivered are to the highest quality or we don’t accept them. We’ve implemented additional steps in the process and a lot more accountability to reduce the likelihood of product not being of a standard we’re happy with. These days when shipments arrive to our warehouses around the world, we have Ironlak family members like Phat1, Tues and Jurne doing QC before new cans make their way on to shop shelves.
We’ve had to learn some pretty hard lessons along the way and we’ve probably been too trusting at times. It’s part of the learning process for us and we’re determined to leave nothing to chance with our goal of delivering the most affordable, high quality cans on the market.
In the late afternoons things typically slow down before dinner time at 6pm, so Tues and I got out for quite a few pieces to put the paint through its paces and make sure everything was up to scratch. We made a few tweaks to the product in the past couple of months and we’ve got plenty more planned before the year is out. Being a company of writers, we feel we know what writers want, so we are committed to giving writers what they want and getting shit right. There is no giant corporation behind us. We’re one of the few brands that’s the real deal; a manufacturer and a company of writers building the company from the ground up. Most of our competitors pretend to be one or the other. Sometimes they pretend to be both.
Anyway, so most afternoons Tuesy and I would get out around dusk and get busy for a few hours. The locals found it a trip – we operate in a pretty small city so for most of them seeing an Australian is strange enough, but seeing us marking up a piece on the side wall of a bank is ‘out of this world’ behaviour.
Another afternoon, one of the guys at the factory was talking about this ‘KFC’ copycat. He was thinking we were probably overdue for some “Western-style food”. Anyway, EFC was a pretty big let down to be honest. The funny part was the buns were actually ok, as were the chicken breasts but the mayo and the cucumber instead of lettuce was pretty funny.
As the month drew to a close we dragged a few of the key people from our factory out for a dinner and a few drinks. As is customary everyone proceeded to toast with Tuesy, seeing if they could get him drunk and if he’d happily live up to his reputation as ‘Boozy Tuesy’. Thankfully he survived fairly unscathed.
The last day arrived, we had a good feed and jumped on the bus back to Hong Kong. Once there we chilled in the lounge, powered through a few beers and relived some funny moments. One such moment was our chemist catching on to my habit of extending an example or sentence with; “or some shit like that.” Next thing we know he’s throwing it in every fucking sentence. I’m like, “dude ease up; you’re burning out a perfectly useful saying that slots on the end of just about any sentence.” Good times. -TheFatController.