business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Sometimes, it’s the stuff you don't think about - the little stuff - that ends up being the most important.

Fascinating story in the Detroit Free Press about a shortage of what arguably is the most important ingredient in Detroit-style pizza.

Not the cheese. Not the sauce. Not the thick airy crust.

Nope. It is the pan in which the pizza is traditionally baked, described as “a certain blue-steel
industrial utility pan made for decades by a small company in West Virginia.” The pan originally wasn’t even intended to be used for cooking - it was made to hold small parts in factories.

The problem is that the West Virginia company stopped making the pan about a year ago and moved production to Mexico, where production is stalled. Thousands of orders have backed up, and pizza makers are complaining that they have not been able to find a legitimate replacement that can yield the same kind of crust.

A solution may be coming. One pizza maker, frustrated by the delay, got the pans analyzed, made a deal with a local manufacturer to produce a replica, and expects to have them rolling off the production line soon.

It is a great example of how the little stuff - the stuff to which few people pay attention - often can matter in big ways. Good lesson to keep in mind.

And that’s our Wednesday Eye-Opener.
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