Making You Work ½ As Hard

, , , , | Right | April 3, 2019

I work at a fish processing plant. People come to us with fish, both privately caught and commercial, and we cut them up and put the parts in vacuum bags. We work on a three-part assembly line: two people cut the fish, four people pack them into bags, and one packs them with two industrial packers. We usually deal with halibut, salmon, and rockfish.

The typical order is around fifty pounds of fish, and we pack them into bags of varying sizes: #½, #1, #1½, and #2, with filets going in larger custom-size bags. The vast majority of orders are #1, and although we can do multi-size orders, it is uncommon. #½ is almost never heard of, and we only ever stock fifty or so bags. Sometimes the customer orders us to clean off the fish with rags, but that slows down the line to a crawl.

One customer comes in with a hundred pounds of salmon, fifty pounds of rockfish, and a full hundred-and-forty-pound halibut.

They want half of the salmon in filets — cleaned with a rag —  twenty-five #1 bags and twenty-five #2 bags, they wanted the rockfish in #2 bags — inconvenient for such a small fish — and they wanted us to filet a hundred-and-forty-pound, six-foot freaking halibut, and put it in two-hundred-eighty #½ bags.

It took us three hours to process one order. The average is thirty minutes.

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