A great day in Bangkok for an engineer. First a tour of a freinds plastics manufacturing company followed by a round of golf (Thai Style).
“One word, Plastics!”
P.P. Pack is owned by our friends family. They make a variety of injection molded and formed food packaging products. I can’t show you any pictures from inside but can say that is it is quite large (covering serveral acres) and very interesting. The firm is vertically intergrated with almost all aspects of the manufacturing of the products, including CAD and CAM capabilities and a CNC Machine shop to make their own forms and molds! I won’t bore any one with all the details but you can ask offline.
Factory Feng Shui and labor in Bangkok
The fountainin front is more than just something pretty in the front, it is part of the layout based on the principles of Feng Shui to bring good luck and wealth, (they seem to be successful so I can’t say it doesn’t work.)
Minimum wage in Bangkok runs about 7 dollars a day! ( in the US it is around 7 dollars an hour). Less outside the city. On a side note this underscores the need for US manufacturers to be highly efficient and embrace lean and automation. Being off by having one unecessary employee can cost more that 100k dollars in the US, But only ~2k dollars in Thailand. (the cost of a golf club membership). As such hard automation is not as common here since labor is quite a bit cheaper and the cost to automate does not provide much return.
Taking Care of employees is very important to the company, one of the ways in which they do this is the cafeteria. They way it works is local vendors can set up shop on the top floor of the building and they pay no rent or utilities, but are required to give a deep discount to the employees who eat there. Thus allowing the employees to stay on site and save money. (The food is actually very good, we had some for lunch)
The factory operates near 24 hours a day, but the family still had time to treat us to a game of Golf!
Golf, Thai Style:
Wow, What a difference from the municipal courses back in the US. Tropical paradise would fit. A couple of differences. Golf is quite expensive here and memberships cost are very high. the cost per game is a little bit more than in the US but given the wage differences it is huge to the average Thai. Given that the climate is tropical the course is covered by a variety of Palm Trees, flowers, beautifully landscaped shrub, etc. and this is the dry season which is not as pretty as the rainy season.
One of the many views around the golf course.
The big difference is the service and the Caddies. Traditionally, caddies are women here. They vary in age from young to mature. Our host prefers the older experienced caddies, at least 2 for him, one to carry the umbrella to protect him from the sun, an another to pull the clubs. they also carry a chair for him to sit on when he waits for the other golfers to catch up. (with my wife and I playing it was a good thing he had the chair). Oh, and he gets an arm massage while he is waiting! I only had one caddy(No massage for me).
Our host and I, and our Caddies! They made sure we had an enjoyable game of Golf!
The caddies job is to make sure you play your absolute best game. He prefers the more experienced Caddies due to their detialed knowledge fo the course. They advise on which clubs to use, how far, where to aim, whether the green is quick or slow, and how it breaks. They also keep score for you. He had asked my caddy to give me lots of advice on my game, I am sure it was good advice just all in Thai. She seemed a little frustrated that I never seemed to do any better, but was cheerful and friendly.
Me and my caddy
On the green
My wife and I Both had a Great Time! I wound up with 60 on a par 35 for the first 9 holes. I blame borrowed clubs, unfamiliar terrain, and lack of skill.