justification for the extremely rigid quality
control methods already noted.
In this context they tell a story at
Gerresheim of an alarming complaint
once received from Surabaya in Southern
Indonesia. Breakages, it was reported,
were extremely high. A Heine ken director
who was in the area decided to investigate.
He found that a swing crane in the harbour
was dropping consignments of empty
Heineken bottles on to the quay from a
height of 80 feet. Even for crated bottles
this treatment might have been expected to
result in splintered destruction. But these
were simply wrapped in jute! Yet more
than 50 per cent of them were undamaged.
The complaint was withdrawn.
Another story, almost certainly
apocryphal, which CONTACT heard at
Gerresheim, concerned a short-sighted
man who wanted to know the work
potential of one of the company's robot
forklift trucks in a single shift. His
curiosity was understandable; one of the
especially fascinating recollections of
Gerresheim is the sight of what is locally
called 'the ghost train' - a team of
unmanned forklift trucks moving purpose
fully about the shop floor, like unearthly
characters in a TV space serial, collecting
trays of bottles stacked in pallets at the
production line terminal and taking them
to conveyors bound for the despatch bay.
"Excuse me, my man," said the short
sighted visitor - and he was, remember,
very short-sighted - "excuse me, but
would you mind telling me-".
"Sorry sir," saidthetruck, "Ican'tstop!'
And it trundled on.