Anukrishna's Blog

The sugarcane juice vendor February 19, 2010

Filed under: Random Thoughts — anukrishna @ 10:23 PM

Now what’s about a  sugarcane juice vendor ? Little did I realize that this person who was unknowingly my sole companion in my bus-waiting missions would be the subject of this…

Before adding more mysteries, let me jump in straight. I have this very unenvious task of waiting for the bus in the hot, tortuous afternoons in a bus stand without a shelter. And being an ungodly hour, I do not have too many for company in the bus stand, except for this sugarcane juice vendor. Picture this … dusty hot afternoons with the blazing sun and empty roads. The sugarcane juice vendor almost merges unobstrusively with the surroundings with his rickety cart and squeaky juice machine… the 2 rolling pin type of machine. But he was an inspiration for me.

I would stand everyday watching his excellent juice-making algorithm with the optimum usage of resources and his time-management skills … well he could put a process person to shame 🙂 . And his efficiency in squeezing out the last drop of juice from the cane till the cane was reduced to a mass of fibres – he could have served well as an Income Tax officer hee hee…

The point of the story is how he inspired me…

The first few days, he had his rickety cart with the squeaky roller-pin machine and hardly any customers. Then he noticed the pile of squeezed  discarded cane fibres and the army of flies. So promptly came in a nice sack to store the  dried cane and out went the flies. The machine started looking cleaner and with it increased the prospects of customers on hot afternoons…

Now with increasing customers, he had the challenge of storing more cane. A spacious hammock-like appendage came up beneath the cart to store his supplies :-). Great going, I thought, after a week.  But the sun had by then turned from blazing to melting heat :-). This was a super-winner. He brought out 4 sticks and tied them projecting, each to one end of the cart. He bought a huge sheet spread it over the sticks and brought it down holding it with stones to make a nice, shady, cool tent for the heat.  Now that’s very tempting on a hot afternoon :-). And the queues kept growing. His policy of Just-In-Time inventory and his upgrade to a cleaner motor-based machine from the manual machine made sure that his customers never had to wait for very long to have their cup of refreshing liquid down their throats.

And he was a kind soul too…. kind enough to spare the odd glass for an urchin or to give a discount to labourers hanging around his cart (though I secretly wish that he would recognize me and let me know if my bus has left before I came ;-)).

Well, can anyone now say its difficult to innovate ?!


One Response to “The sugarcane juice vendor”

  1. Raji Subramaniam Says:

    A very good message and inspiring too.
    May be this could enter the curriculum of some Management schools, just as the “Mumbai Dabbawallahs”.

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