Your editor continues to be on vacation in the beautiful "Lakes Region" between Bariloche, Argentina and Puerto Varas, Chile. Puerto Varas is an exceptionally picturesque town on a large lake at the northern end of the "fjords area" of southern Chile… basically where the south american continent shatters into a myriad of small islands before reaching Antarctica.
The major industry of the area is salmon farming, which has transformed Chile into the second largest exporter of salmon after Norway. Salmon is best served fresh, which presents an interesting challenge for this small town on the southern tip of a continent… literally a half world away from major markets in the United States, Europe, and Asia. They have risen to the opportunity, however, in true "just in time" fashion.
As planes arrive bringing tourists from around the world, the salmon supply chain springs into action. The age of salmon in the multitude of farms is measured constantly, and just before the planes land appropriate salmon is harvested. They are removed from their breeding and nuturing beds in the lakes, processed through several local factories, flash frozen or chilled, and loaded onto the planes… in less than a couple hours. The planes then return filled with fresh salmon.
The timing of this is like an exquisite dance, and the rewards have led to a rich quality of life for the local residents who no longer have to rely on the seasonal tourist activity. Tourists are rewarded with modern roads, communications, and other infrastructure.
In 2004 Superfactory published an excellent article on "Lean in the Clamming Industry". When dealing with perishable products like salmon and clams, Lean can be an exceptionally powerful tool.
Next on to the Torres de Paine National Park in extreme southern Chile…