Redundancy. A term we fully embrace. We recognized early on that one chink in the link of production and delivery could immobilize us. We were fairly lucky during the first seven years of business operating with a single roaster. It certainly didn’t mean that we didn’t hit bumps along the way, but it was a vulnerability we had to live with until we were able to purchase a second roaster. That happened as we moved out of our original space into a space that was designed more around our specific roasting needs. We bought a used roaster that was the same size and model as our first trusty Probat L-12. We bought it from a place in Connecticut. It was an exciting experience moving that roaster into our new digs alongside our original one. Now we had a back-up and twice the roasting capacity. Redundancy. For many years we relied exclusively on UPS for all our distant and mail-order deliveries. That was an excellent arrangement until UPS went on strike and closed that door. It was at that point they we investigated FedEx and the US Postal services. Redundancy. After one particularly severe winter storm we found our internet service was down. We hadn’t really considered that problem. One of our employees had a different phone service and was able to access our email to get some orders and keep that going. She would step outside all bundled up (the reception was better) and with a notepad, write down the orders and messages. Not the most efficient method, but a viable work-around. Once things settled out, we moved our emergency phone over to a new network in case one went down again. Redundancy. We look back on one particularly frustrating day when we kept bumping up against a deadline and malfunctioning equipment. We didn’t have the time to fix anything right then. The big grinder that primarily handled the five pound or more batches we substituted with the lesser sized grinder from the “flavoring” area. We purged it and moved to that machine. The roasting was all moved to just one roaster, the one designated for Organics. Again, we purged it and kept roasting. The label printer decided to bite the dust so that job was taken over by the office printer. By now you may have gathered, it was a matter of redundancy. After we had shipped the orders for the day, we started in on repairing the faulty equipment. We have set up an emergency procedure should the power look as though it may be down for a length of time that would keep us from fulfilling our orders. It requires hooking up a gas-powered generator and hauling out numerous extension cords to power the computer, roaster, a grinder, a scale, and a sealer. Enough to keep us going short term. That’s serious redundancy. Most critically, we have cross-trained our staff in case of illness, or other absences. Most of us know the different delivery routes. All of us know how to blend coffees to fill orders. We have two people who can roast. We have three people who can generate invoices. We have redundancy within our staff, but each person is vital to our long term success. Have we been redundant? We have learned where one will suffice, two is always better.