ET1: Big Boats, Inverted Sugars, Automated Asia
The first episode of Executive Time looks at some projects Copestone has been working on for a company involved in heavy lifting and another in large-scale sugar production.
In this episode of Executive Time, Brad and Rudi discuss some of the topics they’ve been writing about in the last week and what they’ve learnt in the process. They cover everything from launching battle ships to automated marketing. They ask, is there a golden syrup tree? Is invert sugar just sugar turned upside down? Read on or listen to the podcast for the answers to these and many more intriguing questions.
One of Copestone’s clients, Mammoet, is the initial topic for the podcast. Rudi has been writing articles for them this week. One of the topics caught his eye: their involvement in launching a full-scale replica of Russia’s first battleship, Poltava. Mammoet are the global market leader in heavy lifting and transport projects. But, this was a little out of the box.
When a historical project got underway to create a full-scale replica of the battleship, Poltava, Mammoet were brought in to transport the huge wooden ship from the hangar where it had been built, into the Gulf of Finland. Unlike anything they had ever worked on before, the project earned Mammoet the ‘Lattice Crane Job of the Year’ award.
While discussing the origins of Mammoet’s name (Dutch for Mammouth), Brad raised the interesting etymology of the name of another of Copestone’s clients: Ragus, which is the word sugar backwards, or inverted. His favourite piece of the week was a blog post about invert sugar and golden syrup. So, is there a golden syrup tree?
Disappointingly, no. However, the process to create golden syrup, an invert sugar, is almost as interesting. Invert refers to the way light is polarised through the sugar, the angle at which light is transmitted through it. After a process of heating and filtering, sucrose, a solid sugar, has been polarised, and now has the same structure as honey. Light shone through solid sugar will reflect at the opposite angle to light shone through an invert sugar, and is therefore, inverted. It was this process that gave Ragus its inverted name.
The discussion of sugar then led to talk of the small sachets of sugar, known in the packaging business as stick packs. These are referred to as primary packaging, with the boxes that are packed into for transport and sale, being secondary packaging. Both primary and secondary packaging are now a rapid-fire automated process.
As Rudi suggests in the podcast, automation is usually seen as a process that reduces the number of workers necessary, thereby taking jobs. However, across Asia and the Pacific, within the secondary packaging market, automation has become necessary after companies found staff were hard to find, the rate of turnover was so high that the company could not invest in the education of staff, and that HR process on large scales are incredibly complex. As a result, automation has become a way of coping with not having enough people.
Areas that assumed they was safe from automation were those in the creative industry, but as the Executives discuss, even jobs in areas such as marketing are now being threatened by software and artificial intelligence. Software exists that can create 20 to 25 adverts, of an acceptable quality, every second. Although some of these adverts do not read as naturally as something written by a human, they are being produced in such great quantity that within the adverts there would be useable content. But, surely humans are still superior? The Executives concluded that, for now at least, while the volume of adverts produced is greater, the software cannot inherently know what is best for your brand in the same way that a human can.
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