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Rangate's Project in Bhutan - Chapter 3 | Implement
Touching Down in Bhutan
Bhutan’s geographic location presents some logistical challenges. Landlocked and nestled in the Himalaya mountains, the shipments would take some extra time to arrive. To meet the project's budget and timeline, Rangate and its forwarder partner started the logistics plan early and fine-tuned the details as the project developed. With diligence, the carrier delivered the consolidated containers to Thimphu. The two containers comprised machinery, tools and equipment from over 15 vendors from both North America and Europe- no simple task to organize, streamline, and deliver on schedule.
After touching down on October 30, Greg and Joe were welcomed by the Bhutanese staff with the genuine warmth the country is renowned for, which was welcome after a long journey across more than 14 time zones. The first mission for Rangate was to get acquainted with the culture and local logistics quickly. To achieve the installation and training goals in the days ahead, the team would work closely together per a pre-defined schedule.
Priming the Production
Over three weeks of spending full days working side by side, the team got to know the Bhutanese shop staff pretty well. The whole staff was motivated to build windows, optimistic about their country's future, and inquisitive about how their country was perceived abroad. Like any wood shop, working together every day builds a camaraderie and some easy friendships that made a demanding install run far more smoothly.
The first week in Bhutan was devoted to finalizing the installations of all the machinery. Thanks to some careful logistics management, the containers of equipment had arrived on schedule. The machines had already been delivered and laid out according to the shop flow plan. The Rangate team took each machine to a production-ready state of readiness, and verified the entire inventory of tools and equipment.
Of course, the unexpected is part of any install. Challenges popped up along the way, but thanks to the team’s resourcefulness and diligence, the team had the machines and tools running and ready to do the test and verification runs.
Building the First Windows
The factory was primed and ready to build- now the training process for window production began in earnest. The additional Bhutanese woodworkers employed by the factory went through the entire window crafting process with Joe, building working pilot models of each window and door design. At the end of the week, the Royal Law Center's representatives visited the shop to verify their suitability for use in the Center. Pleased by their style and suitability for a Bhutanese-style architecture project, the local project stakeholders were excited by these newly Bhutanese-made, higher performance windows.
Now that the machines and equipment were verified, and the woodworking team was starting to feel comfortable building windows, it was time to refine the process and get the Bhutanese staff ready for years of full-time production. Fine-tuning to the window build process and ongoing training tweaks to ensure that once the Rangate team left, the factory would be able to independently produce windows for the long term.