A little while ago, I was chatting with a friend at a birthday party. Hearing that his family had had a successful business, I began to wonder what they had been involved in.  When I asked him what it was they used to do, he said, “Supermarket trolley maintenance.”

I wasn’t expecting that.

When I used to travel the country selling industrial labels to a wide variety of companies, I used to think about the seemingly infinite manufacturing processes that take place all around us but seldom merit a first, let alone second thought.

Things like light bulbs. Doors. Door handles. Model aeroplanes, cars, gothic soldiers and swords.

What about buckets? Somebody makes them somewhere.

We know paper comes from trees but how exactly does it end up as paper?


One of my biggest customers back then, was a manufacturer of air vents and hand dryers. How do they make that stuff? Judging by the sheer number of labels they would buy every year, they certainly make a lot of them!

Just think – every time you overtake a lorry on the motorway, chances are it will be carrying something that someone, somewhere has made. Obviously, in this day and age, a great deal of it has actually been assembled by robots and complex machinery but it still takes someone to consider it, to design it, to press a button, to think about how much pressure to apply or temperature to set etc…

The thing about supermarket trolley maintenance is that most people don’t even think about it, despite a majority of us handling a trolley at least once a week.

There are literally millions of processes and designs all around us – many of which, we don’t even notice.

Why not take a minute to think of something you use daily and consider how it came to pass and who made it happen?



Paul Hatcher

I am at heart, a communicator. I love to use words, whether written or spoken and maximise those words to hopefully, bring some encouragement - literally, to put courage into the hearts & minds of those who read or hear them. In my work as an executive coach, speaker, workshop facilitator, I love also to listen...deeply, and then respond with some encouragement.