How state of the art is state-of-the-art?

Collins Dictionary states “If you describe something as state-of-the-art, you mean that it is the best available because it has been made using the most modern techniques and technology”
(Source:, which should at least in theory place companies with such infrastructure on a par if not ahead of their competition.  So why did 104 workers at Dawn Fresh Foods, an affiliate of  Q.K. Meats Group, Ireland’s largest privately owned agri-business, lose their permanent jobs yesterday?

The closure of a “state of the art” food production plant at a time when the Irish Government and related State agencies are pushing the line that food exports are our future with strategies in place to increase our current export reach from 36 million people to a staggering 50 million by 2020 just does not cut it.

Yes, the Dawn Fresh Foods (see brand has likely been tarnished by the recent horse meat scandal, but if this is the real reason for the closure surely then a wholesale product re-branding would be more appropriate in light of the potential job losses.

A “state of the art” food processing facility doesn’t just close overnight without “The Minister” being made aware beforehand, and once again we have a Minister expressing shock at the news from his own constituency.

Not exactly a confidence booster for the future success of our food industry if our “state of the art” food production facilities are going out of business, unless of course this particular state-of-the-art has little in common with how things work in the real world.

Unlucky horseshoe
Unlucky horseshoe

China – Under the Hood: China style retrenchment – How to lose friends and make enemies

On St Patrick’s Day afternoon a friend of mine, MS, the only foreign employee working for a local software services company was telling me, in no uncertain terms, how much he really liked his job. And, from first hand experience, I can affirm MS was pretty bloody good at it as well.. So I was really astonished when about six hours later I receive an email from him telling me his job / his department have been discontinued with immediate effect. No warning whatsoever.
Yep, slash (churn) and burn is occurring in China at a frenetic pace, it’s not just an Irish, European or American phenomenon. Here, however, there is no safety net, no right of appeal, nothing. You’re gone, fired, lucky if you’re paid any compensation (if you’re a foreigner your work-permit is cancelled with immediate effect) and that’s it. It’s an approach that’s ruthless and wholly tactless, while the consequences are invariably devastating.Now MS is a guy I could put my hand on my heart and say”hire him!”. I imagine he would be gutted to read the email below, which arrived in my Inbox tonight and was probably sent to everyone MS has ever done business with. Absolutely no need for such a humiliating email, which if anything, has shown up his former employer for what they are: Parasites

“From: hr []
Sent: 19 March 2009 17:14
To: hr
Subject: The declaration from XXX Company

 Dear all,


This is the declaration from XXX Company.


I hereby declare that MS, former Business Development Manager of XXX, is going through the procedure of leaving XXX from 17 Mar, 2009. Any of his comments, business activities are purely his individual behavior, and would not present XXX from 17 Mar, 2009.


Besides, for any future enquiries on IT service, please contact our Marketing Director whose details as follows…..

The corporate autocrats who make such crass decisions, who treat their staff like fodder, who have zero respect for anything other than their own personal gain would do well to remember “what goes around comes around”. In life the decisions we all make and the way we treat people around us will someday come back to stare us in the face. If you’re good and kind to people they will treat you kindly. If you’re cruel to people and make bad decisions then life will not be so kind to you. However you act in your life expect the same to come back to you. It may not happen right away, but at some point in your life you will face the rewards, or, as is the case in this particular situation, the consequences.

I would imagine this email will completely backfire on MS’s former employer. Its distasteful, offensive tone will likely discourage recepients who know MS well from ever again wanting to do business with them.

Chinese company culture churn and burn